Andrew Flintoff: Jofra Archer must be in England’s World Cup squad

‘He’s got all the tricks… He’s got to be in, hasn’t he?’ Andrew Flintoff insists Jofra Archer must be in England’s final World Cup squad and says he would drop ‘anyone’ to include him

  • Andrew Flintoff believes Jofra Archer should be fast-tracked for the World Cup
  • The 41-year-old said he found it frustrating to see Archer bowl so fast so easily
  • Flintoff believes any of England’s bowlers could make way for the 24-year-old
  • The former all-rounder has also back Ben Stokes to put his troubles behind him  

Andrew Flintoff insists Jofra Archer must be included in England’s final World Cup squad and would drop ‘anyone’ to accommodate him.

The man who made three World Cup appearances in a very different era for English white-ball cricket has seen enough of Archer already to believe he must be fast-tracked into a tournament England will be favourites to win.

‘I think he’s brilliant,’ said Flintoff, speaking in his role as a World Cup ambassador at the launch of the official tournament song. ‘I was watching him bowl the other day and I found it so frustrating that a bloke can bowl so fast with what looks like so little effort.

Andrew Flintoff believes bowler Jofra Archer must be included in England's World Cup

Andrew Flintoff believes bowler Jofra Archer must be included in England’s World Cup

Flintoff recounted frustrated envy at how easily Archer generates pace with so little effort

Flintoff recounted frustrated envy at how easily Archer generates pace with so little effort

‘For someone to bowl that quick so easily with so much control. And he’s got all the tricks – slower balls, bouncers, yorkers. He bats as well. He’s got to be in, hasn’t he?’

‘Freddie’ had a simple answer when asked which of the bowlers who have done so much to take England to the top of the world one-day rankings will have to make way.

‘Anyone!’ said Flintoff. ‘If I was already in the squad I’d just make sure I raised my game so I didn’t miss out. It’s international sport. It’s competitive and it’s good for England to be able to leave out somebody so good.

‘I know there’s a thing about him qualifying but we’ve done this for years. When I was a kid we were watching Allan Lamb and Robin Smith and then we waited for Graeme Hick to qualify. We had KP, too, so it’s not a new thing. Rightly or wrongly it happens in cricket.’

Flintoff believes any of England's current crop of bowlers could make for Archer's inclusion

Flintoff believes any of England’s current crop of bowlers could make for Archer’s inclusion

Flintoff also tipped the current England player who could most be compared to himself in Ben Stokes to put his problems behind him and have a major impact in this biggest of all summers with the World Cup and Ashes.

‘The World Twenty20 probably knocked his confidence but that can happen bowling at the death,’ said Flintoff of the four successive last over sixes conceded by Stokes to West Indies Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 final in India.

‘After that and what happened the other year (the Bristol incident) you just have to find your feet again. He’s always involved in the big moments of a game and he seems to be that lad who lifts the team.

‘I think he has come through the other side and I believe we’re about to see the best of Ben Stokes. I hope so because I genuinely love watching him. You wouldn’t be surprised if he steals the show this summer and if he does we can all forget about 2005 and move on ourselves!’

Flintoff also tipped all-rounder Ben Stokes to put his recent off-field troubles behind him

Flintoff also tipped all-rounder Ben Stokes to put his recent off-field troubles behind him 

It was good to see one of the heroes of that fabled 2005 summer talking so enthusiastically about the game as he promoted the song ‘Stand by’ by Loryn and Rudimental.

Flintoff, who has enjoyed considerable success in his new television and stage career away from cricket, has not always enjoyed a comfortable relationship with the game and people in it since his retirement. But he made clear yesterday that he still relishes it.

‘I’ve been very lucky but my first love has always been cricket,’ said a trim and fit looking Flintoff at 41. ‘One of the reasons I didn’t want to work in the game when I retired was that I didn’t want to resent it but you’d be surprised how much I do watch.

‘My boys play and I travel around with them and coach. And I’m on the board at Lancashire so I still have an involvement in the game. At the moment there’s a lot going on but I’ve got an ambition to coach more at some point.’ 

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