Jofra Archer may be the name on everyone’s lips but Eoin Morgan believes England already have the best opening bowler limited-overs cricket has to offer in the form of Chris Woakes.
Eyebrows were raised when England chose to leave recently-qualified Archer out of their provisional 15-man squad for this summer’s ICC Cricket World Cup on home soil despite a string of impressive displays in the IPL this season.
Yet the Barbadian star’s omission only serves to reiterate the strength in depth of English bowling at present, with a number of other hopefuls having helped catapult Morgan’s side to No.1 in the world over the past couple of years.
One of that number is Warwickshire’s Woakes, who is on the comeback trail after being dogged by tendon trouble in his right knee.
And the unheralded 30-year-old seamer’s chances of making the final cut for this summer’s showpiece event have been given a further boost by Morgan, who heaped praise on his ability to put pressure on opposition batsmen from the get-go.
“He’ll be extremely important,” said Morgan, speaking at the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour Super Saturday event in Birmingham. “He’s been the best bowler in the world in the first ten overs for the past two years in international cricket and he goes about his business very quietly and very effectively. He’s exceptional, and a very important part of our team."
Top of the world rankings and boasting a formidable line-up filled with top-class players, hosts England have never had a better chance of ending their World Cup hoodoo this summer. But Morgan highlighted the threat of world No. 2 India, who they face on June 30 at Edgbaston, as his side bid to make history.
He added: “It’s a huge opportunity and one that we’re really looking forward to. We have been building towards this and we can’t wait to get started. Every time we play India, it seems to be an away game and a home game for them wherever they are in the world. They’re such a big team and a popular team that they do get great support.
“But it’ll be no different to any other time that we play them. It’s a big game for us so we’re firmly focused on what we’re going to do and how we prepare. We’re really looking forward to it. It’s been a tough two years that we’ve played against them and two very competitive series. To go into the World Cup almost as joint-favourites is exciting.”
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!