Former all-rounder of the Three Lions, Andrew Flintoff was a man who bowled pace and hit the balls hard. And when the whole cricket world is talking about whether to include Jofra Archer in the world cup squad or not, Flintoff is as bold as his playing style. He has urged the board to include him in the squad, and asked about who to drop, Freddie said that anyone would do.
When asked about Jofra’s inclusion, Freddie said, “It's hard not to. You ask then who I would get rid of? Anyone. I think he's brilliant.” But being a Barbados born and a player of the Windies U-19s, Jofra cannot play for England straight away, he has to qualify for it. "I know there's a thing about him qualifying, but we've done that for a number of years. When I was a kid, we were watching Robin Smith and were waiting on Graeme Hick to play. We've had KP (Kevin Pietersen) so it's not a new thing. It's just what happens rightly or wrongly”, Flintoff added.
Jofra has been brilliant with the ball in hand over the past couple of years, his record in the first class arena is incredible, where he has picked up 131 wickets in 28 matches, averaging 23.44. He picked up 11 wickets in 11 matches in this year’s IPL, with an economy of 6.76. He has raw pace but that is not all, he has great control, can bowl yorkers, bouncers and can disguise a slower ball. He is a seamer any captain would want him in his team on any given day. “Watching the lad bowl - for someone to bowl that quick so easily, with so much control, all the tricks - slower balls, bouncers, yorkers - he's got to be in hasn't he? He bats as well”, Freddie sounded excited.
But Archer is a player who has been in discussion for not more than a few months, but there are seamers who have been working hard and constantly pushing for a spot in the England World Cup squad and Flintoff has an answer for them. “I would make sure I would raise my game. It's international sport, competitive and it's a good position for England to be in that you can drop or leave out someone so good”, the former all-rounder had a bold answer as always.
But many opines that this might have a devastating effect among the players, as the team spirit and morale might be hampered severely. When asked about this, Flintoff didn’t agree. “The only sides I played with that had team spirit were the successful ones. It's a bit of a misnomer. It's funny, because all the sides I played in, the times you want team spirit, when the chips are down, that's when you need it, and we never had it. But when you're winning, everyone's happy. So parachuting someone in to help them win, that'll enhance it”, he said.
The English selectors are really in a spot of bother about this selection, especially after a brilliant performance in his debut against Pakistan. Jofra’s personal performance has made him a deserving candidate for the squad, but players like Chris Woakes are really not in favor of suddenly bringing in a player into the squad and consequently dropping someone who has been with the team for some time. Even though Liam Plunkett has accepted the fact that Archer surely makes their team stronger, the question still remains. Results hang on a fine wire in big tournaments, and decisions like this are either going to be a hit or a miss, nothing in between. Where Archer keeps on pushing for a place, the others also will try their best to keep themselves safe. Andrew Flintoff wants Archer, but do the players?
This is the question the selectors want answered, this is what Jofra Archer’s luck depends on.