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By Peter Hall
LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - India captain Virat Kohli said “world class” England fast bowler Jofra Archer can be the X factor that gives the Cricket World Cup hosts an additional edge in the tournament.
Archer, born in Barbados and who represented West Indies at youth level, was named in England’s 15-man squad on Tuesday, despite only having made his one-day international debut around three weeks ago.
England, ranked the number one ODI side in the world, are firm favourites with British bookmakers to win a first-ever World Cup. The tournament gets under way next week, with England taking on South Africa at the Oval in the tournament opener.
Kohli, who will captain an India side looking to win their third World Cup, believes Archer has the pace to cause batsmen plenty of problems.
“He (Archer) is a world class bowler and there’s a good reason why he’s been fast-tracked into playing for England at the World Cup,” Kohli told reporters at the Cricket World Cup Captains’ press conference on Thursday.
“He has the X Factor and bowls a skill set that is very different from everyone.
“I’ve seen him the last couple of years at the IPL (Indian Premier League). It’s going to be really exciting to see him at the World Cup.
“He has a lot of pace and is a great athlete the England team will be excited. I’ll be watching him as well because from what I’ve seen he has really impressed.”
Even though Archer took only two wickets in England’s World Cup warmup ODI series victory over Pakistan, he earned plenty of praise from team mates including Joe Root, Liam Plunkett and Jos Buttler over the pace — which can reach over 90mph — he brings to the bowling attack.
England captain Eoin Morgan agreed with his Indian counterpart Kohli that Archer can make a real difference this summer.
“He’s come in and performed exactly as he has been around the world,” Morgan told reporters.
“He’s good in all three parts of the 50-over game and plays a part in all three areas. He’s exciting.
“It’s a huge opportunity, he’s very young, very ambitious and confident. He wants to play.
“It’s extremely exciting that he’s at the start of his international career and it happens to be at the start of a World Cup and Ashes year.” (Editing by Toby Davis)