Sussex and England’s Chris Jordan talks to Taha Hashim about his World Cup hopes, what he’s learned over the winter, and whether a certain someone deserves an international call-up.
Will Jofra Archer make England’s World Cup squad? It’s the question that’s dominated the English cricket news cycle over the last four months, ever since the ECB changed its eligibility criteria, thus allowing for the Barbados-born superstar to be available for this year’s 50-over global competition.
Glowing endorsements of Archer’s talents have come from the very top, and watching his rise from close quarters has been Chris Jordan, who informed Sussex of Archer’s talent after facing him in a net session in Barbados.
Speaking at Sussex’s pre-season media day, Jordan was beyond effusive of Archer, who is currently playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
“For Jofra, it would be a dream come true [to be selected for the World Cup],” says Jordan.
“He’s worked so, so hard. I’ve been there on pretty much every step of his journey – from when he was injured to when he made his debut for Sussex, to when he played his first franchise game in Bangladesh. Everything he’s achieving at the minute and everything that he’s getting is thoroughly deserved, and that England selection would be the icing on the cake.
“Whenever he steps up a level, his game seems to rise with it – every single time. And I don’t see international cricket being any different.”
It might appear odd of Jordan to talk in such glowing terms of a bowler who could well be considered a rival to him for a place in England’s 15-man squad. Despite not playing an ODI for England since September 2016, Jordan excelled in the recent T20I series against West Indies, recording figures of 4-6 in England’s 137-run thrashing of the hosts in St Kitts.
But then again, Jordan’s relationship with Archer is an immensely close one. “I do view him as a brother,” says Jordan. “You’d have to ask him, but I’m pretty sure he views me the same way.”
On his own chances of World Cup selection, Jordan is tight-lipped: “To be honest, I’m not even thinking about it too much – why start thinking about it now when I wasn’t thinking about it two months ago?
“I’ve had a couple of good performances but that’s it. I need to back that up now and be even more consistent and keep pushing the door down if I want to be anywhere near that World Cup squad. For me, that starts with Sussex, putting in good performances here.
“If I get the call, so be it. If not, the guys who have performed so well over the last 3-4 years will be more than happy to take on the mantle and try and bring the World Cup home.”
Even if Jordan misses out on the tournament, he will revel in the selection of his friend.
“I know what it means to him, I know how happy he would be. If he’s happy, why shouldn’t I be happy?”
If England do opt to include Jordan however, they will be served by a competitor who has expanded his bowling know-how over a busy winter. Alongside his England commitments, Jordan enjoyed stints in the Big Bash League and Pakistan Super League, picking up tips from the coaching staff he worked with.
“[I worked] with Shane Bond at Sydney Thunder – just talking to him about fast bowling; obviously, he was one of the quickest guys to ever play the game. I also did some work with Mohammad Akram in the PSL. It was not only technical – [in fact] it was more tactical – whether it be coming around the wicket to left-handers, working angles, understanding mentalities, understanding when to bowl slower balls and how to bowl slower balls and on what surfaces. It was good for me from that point of view and that’s been a big part of my development, being able to assess conditions and adapt accordingly.”
As Sussex’s season kicks off with a County Championship fixture against Leicestershire on Friday at Hove, Jordan’s attention, for now, is firmly on performing for his county side.
Nonetheless, in the backdrop, there remains the romantic prospect of Archer and Jordan turning out for England together. Jordan concludes: “Having been on the journey together, to come to that point, it would be a dream come true.”