England captain Eoin Morgan insists his Barbados-born pace sensation Jofra Archer will not be overawed in their World Cup match against West Indies, a team he could have played for. Tournament favourites England take on dark horses West Indies in a what promises to be an enticing contest at the Rose Bowl here Friday. Playing against the nation of his birth, all eyes will be on his 24-year-old fast bowler Archer, who has made an explosive start to his international career. “Jofra has been very consistent over a long period of time, since he came to Sussex. It is great he is in an England shirt. It does feel different the first time you play against a side you could have played for. I am sure he will handle it,” Morgan said at the pre-match press conference Thursday.
Morgan himself played 23 ODI matches for Ireland before switching allegiances. “I did not find it difficult (against Ireland for the first time). It was a different challenge, rather than a difficult one,” the present England skipper said. The hosts were sweating on the fitness of Mark Wood ahead of the clash against the West Indies, with the fast bowler battling an ankle injury. The 29-year-old has taken four wickets at the World Cup but his ankle flared up after their 106-run win against Bangladesh last Saturday.
Wood’s potential absence would be a blow against a lively West Indies batting line-up. However, off-spinner Moeen Ali is available following the birth of his daughter, Haadiya, earlier this week while vice-captain Jos Buttler is expected to keep wicket following a hip problem. Morgan said: “Jos is fully fit. Mark Wood will have a fitness test in the morning, nothing too serious from Cardiff. “His ankle is swollen. He has not bowled for two days so we will see how he is, if he is sore then we may not take the risk.
“Mo’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, all healthy and well, so it is great to see him back. We might go with four seamers or two spinners, whichever is more effective. The West Indies are the only country at this World Cup not to have lost to England in their most recent ODI series against them. The two sides drew 2-2 in an enthralling battle in the Caribbean earlier this year and Morgan is bracing up for another stiff challenge.