In the end, the remarkable thing about Jofra Archer’s selection in the England World Cup squad was that it was not remarkable at all.
Three one-day internationals was all that it took for the Sussex pace bowler to become a shoo-in.
England had become the best one-day side in the world without him but when he became available and, more importantly, showed glimpses of what he is capable of, it was unthinkable that they would try to win the World Cup without him.
In announcing the squad on a sun-kissed morning at Lord’s, national selector Ed Smith called Archer a “special cricketer”, joining those who have heaped praise on the 24-year-old since he first pulled on an England shirtthis month.
Yes, it is unfortunate that David Willey, a regular face in England’s dominance of 50-over cricket in the past four years, has had to miss out, but this is elite sport and there is no room for sentiment.
The immensely talented Archer, born in Barbados to a British father, only became eligible to play for England in March.
Already a star of Twenty20 leagues in India and Australia, it was initially thought that he would have to wait for 2022 to serve the residency requirement.
That was until the England and Wales Cricket Board changed their qualification criteria in November.
There is no suggestion that move was made with Archer specifically in mind, but it is certainly a happy coincidence that a cricketer who can bowl in excess of 90mph, hit the ball into the next postcode and catch flies in the field is available for England’s biggest cricketing summer in history.
As Willey has been the one to miss out, some may return to the Yorkshire bowler’s comments of earlier in the year, when the prospect of Archer arriving late to the World Cup party stopped being a possibility and became a certainty.
“It’s a group of players that have been together for three or four years now that have got us to number one and there’s a reason for that,” said the left-armer.
“Whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they’re available, whether that’s the right thing I don’t know.”