There is no room for sentiment when it comes to the selection of Jofra Archer in England’s team for the ICC Cricket World Cup, insists former international bowler Graeme Swann.
Barbados-born Archer qualified to play for England in March after a change in residency rules and was named in the one-day squads for games against Pakistan and Ireland.
The 24-year-old’s potential inclusion in the final 15-man squad has been called into question by some, though, with David Willey, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes all voicing their concerns.
But ex-England spinner Swann, who made 79 ODI appearances for his country, believes no one is owed a place in the squad and admits he would have Archer in the team in a heartbeat.
"He has done enough to be in that team by a country mile, I don’t see it as a point of contention," said Swann. "It’s not tricky at all, it’s just professional sport.
"Anyone who thinks it’s a tricky situation shouldn’t be playing professional sport, it’s not a club, it’s not a happy clappy club, you pick your best team to win.
"Jofra Archer has just been in the Indian Premier League, he’s had a stunning IPL, he bowls with genuine gas and he can bat as well. If he’s not one of the best four bowlers, he doesn’t play.
"If he is one of the best four then he does, it’s as simple as that. If anyone has an issue with that because they played two years ago against Zimbabwe then they shouldn’t be playing."
While Archer was not picked in the preliminary World Cup squad last month, the pace bowler could still make it in if he impresses pre-tournament as changes can be made up to May 23.
Woakes previously said it would be "extremely unfortunate" if Archer was to come in and a more established player was to miss out - before insisting his comments were taken out of context.
And Swann added: "Anyone who is trying to be sentimental and saying that if you’ve got England to this point you should be in there, they didn’t get us here, we didn’t qualify for this thing.
"We’re in it because we’re one of the big teams, so there’s no room for that sentiment. Every team needs a genuine fast bowler so at any stage you can turn to him to get a wicket.
"He bowls proper gas and he has a great yorker on him as well so I would definitely want him in my team as he brings something different to that England attack."
Swann was speaking at a Barmy Army warm up event at The Oval, where he went head to head with YouTuber Charlie Morley to come up with a new song for England ODI captain Eoin Morgan.
The host nation, the world’s number one side, continued their preparations for the World Cup with a six-wicket victory against Pakistan in the third one-day international in Bristol.
Jonny Bairstow smashed a sensational century as England reached 359-4 completed their second-highest run-chase without the rested Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid and Archer.
And despite still having some concerns about the amount of runs England’s bowlers are conceding, Swann is feeling confident about their chances of lifting the trophy.
"England are going well and this is probably the first time ever England are genuine favourites to win the World Cup, they are looking brilliant - especially with the bat," he said.
"They beat Pakistan in Bristol without Jos Buttler even batting and I think they are in with a great shout to win it, my one worry is with the ball they are still quite expensive.
"If they have an off day with the bat, it may not paper over the cracks enough but a good team dovetails all the time and I reckon this England team will be able to do that.
"If they do have a bad day with the bat, the bowlers will come to the fore, and vice versa so it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out over the summer."
- ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour, driven by Nissan, commences 100-day tour of England and Wales and will be at over 100 locations and events before arriving back in London ready for the opening match on May 30