England's Ben Stokes calls Jofra Archer the most 'naturally gifted' bowler he has seen

Sudhir Gupta 13/04/2019
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Rajasthan Royals pacer Jofra Archer. Image - @rajasthanroyals/Twitter.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has described his Rajasthan Royals team-mate Jofra Archer as the most ‘naturally gifted’ bowler he has ever seen.

With the Barbados-born Archer likely to be fast-tracked into England’s squad for the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup, Stokes has given the express pacer his stamp of approval.

Both the players are currently representing Rajasthan in the ongoing 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) where Archer has picked up seven wickets in as many matches so far.

“Jofra makes any team better,” Stokes said about his potential future England team-mate in The Doosra podcast.

“He is the most naturally gifted bowler I’ve seen and I don’t think he realises how good he is. Some of the things he can do at the click of a finger are just ‘wow’. It’s pretty special to watch.

RR all-rounder Ben Stokes. Image - @IPL/Twitter.

RR all-rounder Ben Stokes. Image – @IPL/Twitter.

“You ask him to do something and he nails it straight away. To have somebody at the pace he bowls and the skills he has… the selectors are going to be scratching their heads and it’s a great time to be an England fan and an England player.”

The last dates for participating teams to submit their final 15-man World Cup squads is April 23. No1 ranked England are expected to announce their squad on April 17.

When asked if he sees Archer making the cut for the World Cup squad, Stokes replied, “It’s a tough question but it’s a great position to be in as an England team when you’ve got a player with the skill level Jofra’s got.”

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Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman adds to injury concerns ahead of 2019 World Cup

Waseem Ahmed 13/04/2019
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Mustafizur Rahman has been ruled out for two weeks at least.

Pacer Mustafizur Rahman has added to Bangladesh’s growing injury concerns ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England.

The left-armed pacer recently hurt his ankle while training is now set to be ruled out for two weeks at least. Mustafizur is expected to make the final 15-man Bangladesh World Cup squad but the pacer could now miss the early stages of the tournament including the warm-up matches in England.

“There is no fracture-related injury but there is some pain in the ligament, a lateral ankle sprain,” Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief physio Dr Debashish Chowdhury told the Daily Star.

“He had suffered this kind of sprain before but predictions regarding these injuries are difficult.

“He will rest partially with little exercise in between and his condition will be reassessed two weeks from now.”

Mustafizur will be crucial to Bangladesh's World Cup hopes.

Mustafizur will be crucial to Bangladesh’s World Cup hopes.

Mustafizur is not the only Bangladesh player sweating over their fitness ahead of the World Cup with wicketkeeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim still nursing a broken rib-cage he sustained during the Asia Cup last year.

Batting stalwart Mahmudullah, meanwhile, has only just resumed batting in the nets after recovering from a shoulder injury. Pacers Rubel Hossain and Taskin Ahmed are also currently recuperating from injuries.

The final deadline for the announcement of the 2019 World Cup squads is April 23. Bangladesh will open their WC campaign on June 2 against South Africa at the Oval in London. Prior to arriving in England, the Bangladesh ODI squad will participate in a tri-series in Ireland also involving West Indies.

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Pollard optimistic of 2019 World Cup chances after stellar IPL show for Mumbai Indians

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Kieron Pollard. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard is a targeting a national comeback for the 2019 World Cup after setting the stage on fire in IPL.

Pollard smashed a whirlwind 83 off 31 balls to help Mumbai Indians defeat Kings XI Punjab on Wednesday and hoped his long-standing issues with the West Indies board are behind him.

The 31-year-old last played an ODI in 2016 after falling out of favour under the previous Windies cricket board regime but is now more upbeat about his international future after the ouster of controversial board president Dave Cameron.

“There has been a lot of turmoil in West Indies cricket over the last couple of years. We have seen in the last couple of weeks there’s a change,” Pollard was quoted as saying by AFP.

“The most I can do every time I step on the cricket field is try to put runs on the board,” he added. “There’s people there who have the job to select and whatever and let’s see how that goes. As I said, I’m 31 years, Chris Gayle is still playing, he’s 39, and he’s whacking it all around.”

Pollard said with former team manager Ricky Skerritt taking charge, it could be start of a new era.

“We have a new chairman of selectors, there’s a new president of the cricket board, and as I said you take it as it comes,” said Pollard. “We know what we can do and I think Chris batted superbly. When your mind is free, you just go out and enjoy cricket.”

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