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England all-rounder Ben Stokes says Jofra Archer is the most “naturally gifted” bowler he has seen.
Uncapped Archer has played just 14 one-day matches in his career but is likely to be fast-tracked into England’s World Cup squad based on his performances in Twenty20 franchise cricket.
Barbados-born fast bowler Archer, 24, qualifies for England through his English father and has a UK passport.
“Jofra makes any team better,” said Stokes, speaking on The Doosra podcast.
“He is the most naturally gifted bowler I’ve seen and I don’t think he realises how good he is.
“Some of the things he can do at the click of a finger are just ‘wow’. It’s pretty special to watch.
“You ask him to do something and he nails it straight away. To have somebody at the pace he bowls and the skills he has… the selectors are going to be scratching their heads and it’s a great time to be an England fan and an England player.”
Archer is playing in the Indian Premier League for Rajasthan Royals, alongside Stokes and England limited-overs wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
He has become one of the most sought-after cricketers in franchise cricket because of his 90mph bowling, big hitting and athletic fielding.
If he was selected in England’s World Cup squad, however, it would have to be at the expense of a bowler who has been part of a squad of players who have taken England to number one in the rankings.
When asked whether Archer should make the provisional squad, which is named on 17 April, Stokes said: “It’s a tough question but it’s a great position to be in as an England team when you’ve got a player with the skill level Jofra’s got.”
Archer qualified to play for England earlier this year after the England and Wales Cricket Board changed its residency rules.
Buttler ready for ‘memorable summer of cricket’
Once the IPL has finished, Stokes, Buttler and Archer will return to the UK where England go into the World Cup, which begins on 30 May, as hosts and favourites.
Following that, they will contest a five-Test Ashes series against Australia, which begins on 1 August.
“We’re fortunate to be around at this stage in our careers where we have a World Cup and an Ashes in England at the same time,” said Buttler.
“The one-day team has been playing some good cricket for the last three years and we have got ourselves to number one in the world, which was one of the targets of the side.
“The favourites tag doesn’t mean anything but it should give us confidence for what should be a memorable summer of cricket.”