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Joe Root: Jofra Archer could add "value" to Ashes squad

Joe Root: Jofra Archer could add
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The 24-year-old has shone in limited-overs cricket but has played only 28 first-class matches.

England's Test captain Joe Root admits Jofra Archer is an Ashes contender this summer.

Barbados-born Archer has impressed on the one-day international stage since completing his three-year qualification period to represent England.

Archer followed up his 50-over debut against Ireland with two wickets in the Twenty20 win over Pakistan in Cardiff on Sunday, his variation ranging from fierce 90mph-plus deliveries to mystifying off-cutters.

England v Pakistan – Vitality IT20 – Sophia Gardens
Jofra Archer has taken wickets and impressed in his two England performances (Simon Galloway/PA)

His late attempt to make England's World Cup squad will continue this week, with the five-match ODI series against Pakistan starting at the Kia Oval on Wednesday.

But Root has hinted there could be an even bigger prize waiting for Archer against Australia at the end of the summer, even though the 24-year-old only made his Sussex debut in 2016 and has played just 28 first-class matches.

"I'm looking at everyone with an eye towards the Ashes," Root said in response to Archer's Test claims.

"Anyone that's in the shake up for it, naturally you will.

England v Pakistan – Vitality IT20 – Sophia Gardens
England's Test captain Joe Root says Jofra Archer is on their Ashes radar (Simon Galloway/PA)

"Sub-consciously you are always looking at county cricket, around the squad, who's in good form and who's playing well. Who could potentially be a good option for the Ashes squad in future.

"You can see the value of what he could bring to a side, that extra bit of zip, and he makes things happen.,

"He's someone that wants to get into the game and try and make things happen and that's a great quality to have on this stage.

"It will be interesting to see how he goes in the next few games."

The wait for Archer to qualify as an England cricketer has produced a seemingly endless bout of debates around his selection.

Archer's work on the T20 franchise circuit has seen him touted as a box-office cricketer, and that has been underlined over the last few days in an England shirt.

Asked if Archer offers something different, Root replied: "He does. We'll see how that materialises over the coming months.

"It's exciting to see another option to add to what is a growing bowling group, with the experience that we have in the two senior guys (James Anderson and Stuart Broad) and guys like Woody (Mark Wood) putting in a performance like he did in that last Test match.

"It's great to see us producing more and more players, and giving us more different options than we've probably had in the last couple of years."

England v India – Third Royal London One Day International England Nets Session – Headingley Carnegie
Mark Wood was named man-of-the-match after his five-wicket haul in England's last Test against the West Indies in February (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Root has yet to face Archer in the nets – "that could be interesting", he said with a smile – but he feels his form and England are both in a good place with the World Cup on the horizon.

On the back of early-season runs for Yorkshire, Root made a composed 47 as England won their only T20 fixture of the summer to record two wins from two games.

"It's nice to get the ball rolling and play some cricket," said Root, 28, who stressed that he is keen to play all formats of the game at this stage of his career.

"The West Indies feels like a long time ago. It feels like we're in a good place at the moment, though we are not taking that for granted.

"It's really exciting to see the crux of the squad together for what I suppose is the start of the journey of the summer now.

"These two games have been a chance for us to start going in the right direction and get some momentum going into the one-day series.

"It's really pleasing to be two from two and carry that forward in to these five games."

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Eoin Morgan in action for England on October 13, 2018
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