Johnny Grave, Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Officer, is not pleased with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who revised their eligibility criteria in a bid to make sure that Barbadian paceman Jofra Archer can turn out for the country.
According to Grave, the concern is not just over Archer, but that other talented Caribbean players could be lured away from playing for their region, using the same ‘long-term county contracts’ that have paved the way for Archer.
Cricket West Indies were hoping they would have had Archer for the World Cup in 2019, but the exciting 23-year-old, one of the brightest prospects in world cricket today, made it clear, his intentions to turn out for England whenever eligibility requirements were met.
The ECB had previously required that for a player to be eligible to turn out for England, they must have seven years of residency under their belt, however, last week that was reduced to just three.
“We respect Jofra’s decision, the rules allow him to [switch country]. But on a personal level, and as an Englishman, I don’t like the concept of the ECB poaching players who have been part of another system up to the age of 19,” said Graves.
“I hope no other West Indian cricketers follow that path and hope it doesn’t lead to counties doing their talent ID in the Caribbean, taking our players into the public school system and then on to offering them lucrative long-term county contracts and then possibly on to playing for England.”
Interestingly, Archer’s first game for England could very well be in the Caribbean next year when England tour the region for three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20s from January 23 to March 10.
Archer would become eligible to play for England in March, right in time for the Twenty20 fixtures.
One source have told sportcaraibe.com that due to certain treatment Archer received in Barbados, influenced his decision not to play for the Caribbean side.
The source added that because of a different approach in England, Archer is reported to have told family members and friends, that all thoughts that he had of playing for the West Indies, has evaporated.
Meanwhile Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday newspaper has reported that Archer has taken a swipe at Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave. He took aim at the administrator, making it clear the West Indies cricket board made their grave mistake by not doing more to keep him as an aspiring youth cricketer.
Archer, who was born in Barbados and played Under-19 cricket for West Indies, began his England qualification in 2015 after being dropped for the 2014 Under-19 World Cup. Since then, on the advice of fellow Bajan Chris Jordan, he’s been playing for Sussex, trying to break into all formats with England, while also becoming a hit on the Twenty20 scene.
He was not expected to be available for international selection until 2022 at the earliest, but that’s changed with the ECB reducing their residency period from seven years to three, which means that under this new criteria Archer can debut next year in the 50-over World Cup or in the Ashes.
However, even with his England selection not guaranteed due to the form of all-rounders like Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, Archer said he rather bide time there, play Twenty20 cricket and wait for a shot, as he’s only 23, rather than return to the West Indies set-up.
Former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards, never one slow to speak his mind, has called on the ICC to take action to curb the transfer of international allegiance by young players after the ECB’s decision last week to reduce the qualification period for England from seven years to three.
“The ICC has to act to stop these young players from prostituting themselves rather than playing for their own countries,” Richards is reported to have told The Times at Carlisle Bay on Antigua’s south coast. Adding that he had nothing against Archer, whom he regards as “highly talented.”