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Fast bowler Jofra Archer given green light to win England place in 2019

Fast-tracked: Archer could become a strong addition to England’s line-up PICTURE: GETTY

HIGHLY rated fast bowler Jofra Archer will be eligible for England selection from next year after the qualification criteria was relaxed.

Archer was born in Barbados to an English father but he did not arrive in the United Kingdom until after his 18th birthday in 2015, necessitating a seven-year residency period under previous regulations. Despite holding a British passport, that meant he would not have come into contention for England until the winter of 2022.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board announced the residency benchmark would be brought down to three years for British citizens from the start of 2019. The move, designed to bring the ECB regulations closer to those of the International Cricket Council, has been welcomed by Archer.

The 23-year-old, who can bowl at more than 90mph, is also a powerful batsman and brilliant fielder who many see as more of an all-rounder rather than just a paceman. He has long coveted England recognition and initially thought he may be in contention for England’s tour to the West Indies early next year. After yesterday’s announcement, he tweeted: ‘It may or may not happen but I would love to debut in front of my family.’

However, he will not actually become eligible until March, ruling him out of that tour but making him available for next summer’s Ashes and World Cup.

Archer represented West Indies at Under-19s level and has flourished on the county circuit with Sussex alongside fellow Bajan-born Chris Jordan.

He has enhanced his reputation on the Twenty20 circuit, playing a starring role for the Hobart Hurricanes in last year’s Australian Big Bash and the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

THE controversial Hundred competition has moved a step closer to fruition after the England and Wales Cricket Board endorsed the playing conditions for the 100-ball tournament set to launch in 2020. Several pilot days at the back end of last season at Loughborough and Trent Bridge were commissioned in an effort to fine-tune the concept. The ECB backed the rules which will see 100-ball innings, a change of end after every ten balls and an individual bowler able to deliver either five or ten consecutive balls with a maximum of 20 per game.