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Preliminary 15-man Squad: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Alex Hales, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, and David Willey.

The build-up to England’s preliminary squad announcement for the Cricket World Cup 2019 was an affair dominated by the speculations of whether Jofra Archer will make the cut or not? The much-awaited answer has finally arrived and the Barbados-born pacer hasn’t been given the preliminary ticket, though, the gates are still open for him to get on board with a brilliant show in the series against Pakistan.

“The selection panel has been impressed with Jofra Archer’s performances in domestic and franchise cricket. He is a very talented and exciting cricketer,’’ commented the chairman of selectors Ed Smith when asked about Archer’s omission.

Also read: Bangladesh World Cup Squad: A perfect blend of youth and experience

While the squad had mostly the expected names, a Joe Denly surprise has been thrown up by the selectors who chose to value his right-arm leg-break option over Sam Billings’ athleticism in the field. National Selector Ed Smith has made it clear that there are changes possible in this squad which might see some rejig after the limited overs assignment against Pakistan. “In line with ICC regulations, we have to name a preliminary squad of 15 for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup before April 23. However, all 17 players named in the Royal London ODIs against Pakistan can stake a claim to be in the final 15-man squad, finalised at the end of that series,” said Smith.

Here, we take a look at how the English squad shapes up for the World Cup.

Batsmen

Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, and Jos Buttler

There are no surprises in the batting department as all of the six names mentioned above were a certainty unless someone copes a serious injury. England will want to have a rotating opening combination of two of the three options they have i.e. Bairstow, Roy, and Hales.

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Going by the performances in the West Indies ODIs, Bairstow’s form and the combination of Roy and Bairstow should open for the hosts, followed by Test skipper Joe Root and ODI skipper Eoin Morgan at numbers 3 and 4 respectively. Buttler, at five, will don the finisher’s role while also handling the wicket-keeping duties. Alex Hales’ destructive credentials will surely find some reckoning as he can be tried at the start by following the rotating openers approach.

All-rounders

Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Joe Denly

The surprise pick came in the all-rounders’ line-up where Denly was called up to partner the likes of Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, and Chris Woakes. While Moeen and Stokes’ experience and well-established credentials make them seamless inclusions at the number 6 and 7 slots, Chris Woakes might find himself on a rotating chair with the likes of Tom Curran and David Willey.

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Denly’s chances of making it to the playing XI are really slim until there is an injury in the batting or all-round departments. He can also be at the receiving end of Jofra Archer’s inclusion if the speedster comes out well in the Pakistan series.

Spinner

Adil Rashid

35 wickets from 16 innings at an average of 23 apiece and an economy of 5.83 runs per over. That’s Adil Rashid for you in the last 12 months – easily the best bowler for England in the given period. His was a certain inclusion and there was hardly any case before the selectors for not considering him for the squad.

Pacemen

David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, and Mark Wood

Mark Wood had a coming-of-age Caribbean tour where he starred in the last Test match while finishing second in the wicket-taking charts for the five-match ODI series. He is the only pace bowler in the World Cup reckoning in English circuit who can match the pace of Jofra Archer. He will be the first-choice seamer in the playing XI along with the tricks and guiles of Plunkett. Willey and Curran both can prove to be handy hitting options down the order but Woakes has better batting credentials than both of them which indicates at the trio being rotated for the lone spot remaining in the playing XI.

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As there are changes on the anvil after the Pakistan series, the squad for which has also been announced, it will be not be prudent to go for a first-choice playing XI at this very moment, especially when Ed Smith has talked about players like Chris Jordan in the reckoning apart from Jofra Archer’s compelling case as both have been drafted in for the ODIs against Pakistan and also in the squad for the one-off ODI against Ireland. “Chris Jordan, a regular in IT20 squads over the past few years, has continued to develop as a cricketer – as we saw in the IT20s in the West Indies. He fully deserves his return to the ODI squad.”

Squad for Pakistan ODIs: Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Alex Hales, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, David Willey, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan

Squad for Ireland ODI:  Eoin Morgan (c), Jofra Archer, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood

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