Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer will be reserved spots in England’s T20 World Cup squad if fit… as coach Matthew Mott hints side aiming for series win over West Indies won’t change too much
- England are hoping to complete a Caribbean comeback to win T20 series
- Coach Matthew Mott doesn’t believe the make-up of the squad will alter much
- These are the last T20 matches before England name 15 players for title defence
Matthew Mott has confirmed most of an England team attempting to complete a Caribbean comeback on Thursday will return here next June, with Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer understood to be the only outsiders guaranteed a place in the World Cup squad.
The series decider against the West Indies is also the last Twenty20 match before the selectors choose those the 15 players to defend their title, starting with four games against Pakistan in late May that will serve as a warm-up.
Mott, whose side are vying to complete a 3-2 victory from two down, confirmed it was a given that all-rounder Stokes, who saw England over the line in last year’s final win over Pakistan in Melbourne, and fast bowler Archer are shoo-ins if fit.
‘Ben, aside from his incredible match-winning ability in every department is that ability to have a seam bowler in that top six gives you so many options with your team balance,’ Mott said.
‘A lot of the time you have to give up something. If you win, everyone says, ‘Oh, they got it right.’ If you lose, it’s, ‘They were a bowler short or a spinner short.’
Ben Stokes will play at the T20 World Cup next year if the England big-hitter proves his fitness
There will also be a World Cup place for Jofra Archer if he overcomes his injury misery
England coach Matthew Mott in the Caribbean, where the team hope to beat West Indies 3-2
‘When you’ve got a seam bowler in your top six, it makes selection a hell of a lot easier. So that’s a given. Every team in the world wants someone like that and they’re rare.
‘In terms of Jofra, you’ve just got absolute box-office pace, change of pace, bowl any over in the innings. Bowl your super over, bowl your last over. Him on the park is massive, everyone would agree with that.’
Stokes is said to be recovering well from knee surgery he hopes will allow him to take his place in England’s attack in the first half of 2024, while the ECB are currently evaluating how to accommodate Archer’s need for match action following his latest elbow rehabilitation.
His programme for the new year should become clearer before Christmas.
Mott continued: ‘We always said with this series, we’ll go pretty close to the side we’re looking for. Otherwise, why would they be here?’
England have locked in a new opening combination of captain Jos Buttler and the in-form Phil Salt, and are impressed by the selfless attitude of Will Jacks at number three, which has dashed any lingering hopes Dawid Malan held for a major tournament swansong, and could be bad news for Jonny Bairstow too.
‘Obviously, Salty has put an undeniable case there; Jos is one of the greatest of all time,’ Mott said.
England have come from two-down to level the best-of-five series at 2-2 ahead of the decider
England’s Jos Buttler hits out during the fourth T20 in Tarouba over the weekend
‘So how we get that top six or seven going will be will be an interesting thing. But this series has set us up well, and has been invaluable experience for us, whether we win it or not.
‘We go away with a heap of learnings and we’ll be a lot better team for it. I feel like we have a really good advantage having been here at this time of year.’
Mark Wood, who like Malan missed the 2022 final following injury concerns, will come under serious consideration but the lack of slower variations to complement his extreme pace might count against him here where batsmen set themselves to launch into same-speed deliveries.
Meanwhile, the experiment of handing the wicketkeeper’s gloves to Salt for the fourth match of five here – allowing Buttler a different perspective on captaincy and Salt international experience behind the stumps given that he is likely to be deputy gloveman at the World Cup – could be revisited.
However, Mott confirmed that Buttler would continue to keep wicket in crunch games at the tournament.
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