‘Do you change a winning team that has been No 1 for four years?’: Mark Wood questions England’s impending selection of Jofra Archer
- Mark Wood has concerns over England’s possible selection of Jofra Archer
- Wood believes Archer’s inclusion could ‘change the dynamic’ of the team
- The 29-year-old compared the conundrum to Newcastle signing Tino Asprilla
- England have been touted as favourites ahead of the World Cup this summer
Mark Wood has compared England’s impending selection of Jofra Archer on the eve of the World Cup to the signing of Faustino Asprilla by Newcastle in their foiled nineties title bid.
On Wednesday, the recently-qualified Sussex fast bowler will be named in a bloated squad to face Ireland and Pakistan next month – six matches that will form the build-up to a tournament on home soil that Eoin Morgan’s team head into as favourites.
Archer’s inclusion has been the talk of county dressing rooms at the start of the 2019 season, not least because accommodating such a special talent could potentially damage the equilibrium created over a four-year cycle of success that has seen England dominate the one-day international scene.
Mark Wood has concerns over England’s possible selection of Jofra Archer
In the north-east, the comparisons with events of February 1996 when Newcastle, nine points clear at the top of the Premier League, decided to add some star dust in the form of a new Colombian striker. Over the next three months, they were overhauled by Manchester United.
‘It’s a tough question. Do you change a winning team that has been No 1 for four years? He is obviously a world-class player. I was speaking about this a little bit with the lads at Durham because they were asking me,’ Wood said.
‘And it was the old, Kevin Keegan thing, bringing in Tino Asprilla because you want to keep the team at the top, you still want them to keep moving forward.
Wood believes Archer’s inclusion could ‘change the dynamic’ of the team
‘But then does that change the dynamic? Does it mix it up? All of a sudden, you lose the momentum and drop down. There is no doubt that Jofra is a world-class player. He plays in the hardest tournaments, the IPL and the Big Bash, and excels. He handles the pressure.
‘But would I want to see someone like a Liam Plunkett who has been our best bowler for three years left out? No. Would I want to see myself left out? Obviously not. Would I want to see David Willey, who I am close friends with and someone who gives you a left-arm option, left out? No. Would I want to see Chris Woakes, another friend who has taken loads of wickets, left out? No. Or Tom Curran, who has bowled well. It is hard to see. Does anyone deserve to be left out? I don’t know.’
With the selectors discussing two separate squads via conference call on Tuesday, there will be a stay of execution for his rivals as it is anticipated the 24-year-old Archer’s name will be among 17 to travel to Dublin for the May 3 ODI and then take on the 2017 Champions Trophy-winning Pakistanis over a five-match series. But he is not expected to feature in the provisional 15 for the World Cup.
The 29-year-old compared the conundrum to Newcastle signing Tino Asprilla in 1996
‘From my point of view, and this is purely my opinion, it would probably be easier where you pick the same squad and you add Jofra in later, rather than putting Jofra into the original squad and leaving someone out,’ Wood added.
‘Because if you look at Jofra in the Pakistan stuff and he doesn’t do as well as you think, and then you add someone back in that you have left out, I don’t know if that way round looks better than the other. There is no easy route.’
Changes to the World Cup squad can be made up until May 22, eight days before the tournament begins, and Wood appears a shoo-in following a resurgent winter in which he returned to Test cricket with 90-mile-per-hour fire.
To preserve that kind of speed, the England management opted to pull the 29-year-old out of Durham’s first two Championship matches of this season. Following scans last week on a left ankle subjected to three sets of surgery, he is due to make his season bow in the Royal London Cup game against Northamptonshire on Wednesday.
England have been touted as favourites ahead of the World Cup this summer
‘It’s a different game when I bowl fast. The problem is I can’t go to the coach and say “I am carrying niggles, leave me out.” I want to play for England, I want to do well,’ he reflected.
‘Well, do you want me to bowl with niggles and my pace be slightly down? Then, you can’t question my injury record. Or do you want me to bowl at 90mph all the time?
‘I am getting older. You would hope your body gets a bit more robust than what it has been in the past and I think the change of run-up has definitely helped that.
‘The way I felt at the end of the Caribbean tour, it’s almost like I wish the World Cup was the week after the tour. I felt on top of the world.
‘I put in the performances that I wanted and felt I should have given England for two or three years.’