ENGLAND: Fast bowler Chris Woakes believes that Archer’s arrival in the side, and his subsequent performance, have sparked a healthy competition within England’s bowlers to retain their place in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup squad.
England have a long line of talented pacers, who have been performing extremely well over the last couple of years and supporting their strong batting line-up.
“The batters have obviously set the benchmark over the last few years, there’s always been competition for places there – more so maybe than the bowling – and this, I suppose, has done the same for the bowlers,” he said. “It’s always good to have competition; at the international level, that’s always going to be the case.”
The 30-year-old, who debuted for England in 2011, has been a regular feature of the ODI side. He has 121 wickets in 87 ODIs. He put on a terrific display in the third ODI against Pakistan on Tuesday, 14 May, picking up 4/67 in 10 overs.
However, when asked after the match if he felt that his place in the World Cup squad was safe, Woakes said: “Safe is probably not the word, but you always feel like you need to put in performances, and I’m pleased I managed to put in a good performance today.
“You hope you are safe, but I suppose until that squad’s selected, you’re not. Hopefully, I am, but we’ll see.”
Woakes reckoned that England’s selectors would have a tough call to make, as the 23 May deadline for naming the final squad draws closer. “Someone, unfortunately, will miss out, but we don’t sit in the dressing room talking about, ‘is it going to be me?’, ‘is it going to be you?’ I think everyone knows it’s there and it’s creating a good competitive edge to the team, but we don’t talk about who is going to miss out and who is going to be selected.”
England have two ODIs left against Pakistan. After that series concludes, on 19 May, they will play two warm-up matches, against Australia and Afghanistan, before starting their World Cup campaign on 30 May against South Africa at The Oval.