Jofra Archer, who played a major role in England's World Cup victory with 20 wickets, has been included in the side for the opening Ashes Test against Australia starting on August 1 at Edgbaston. The England side also sees the return of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and James Anderson, who were all rested for the one-off Test against Ireland which England won by 143 runs. The side, though, sees the omission of Jack Leach, who won the Man of the Match award for his knock of 92, which was achieved in remarkable circumstances after the No.11 batsman was promoted to open the batting.
Archer qualified to play for England during the series against Pakistan. A strong performance saw him been fast-tracked into the side for the World Cup. Archer produced some stunning spells and bowled with pace and accuracy to end with 20 wickets in the tournament, the most by an England bowler in the history of the World Cup. The tall, lanky pacer was tasked with bowling the super over during the final against New Zealand at Lord's and although the super over ended in a tie, England won the match as they had scored more boundaries.
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Now, in an interview to BBC Sussex, Archer revealed that he had to battle excruciating pain on his knee and he had to take painkillers on a regular basis in order to go through the tournament. The England team management apparently wanted to rest Archer but losses to Sri Lanka and Australia in the middle of the campaign saw their knock-out chances dim and he had to play through the injury, which he sustained against Afghanistan at Old Trafford, Manchester.
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It was pretty excruciating. I'm fortunate it's settled quickly. It was pretty bad. I couldn't do it without painkillers, which was from the Afghanistan game onwards. I couldn't get a week's rest in during the tournament because of how close the games were. I only ever needed a week to 10 days," Archer said.
The squad also sees the return of Stokes, who played a massive role in England's win against New Zealand at Lord's. The left-hander smashed 85 and then hit 15 runs in the super over along with Buttler as England won the game on boundary count. Stokes was restored to his position as Joe Root's deputy after being stripped of the vice-captaincy following a late-night brawl in September 2017. He was subsequently cleared on a charge of affray last year, with Jos Buttler acting as vice-captain.
England squad for 1st Ashes Test:
Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wk), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).