Jofra Archer joined England’s practice session at the Kia Oval on Tuesday, keeping alive prospects of him travelling to next month’s World Cup as a reserve.
Archer, who bowled the super over that made England world champions at Lord’s four years ago, has missed the entire summer with a stress fracture in his right elbow and was not considered fit enough for a place in the provisional 15-man squad.
But with his recovery tracking in the right direction, it is not out of the question that he could be picked as injury cover, joining the squad in India and becoming available if injuries strike during the tournament.
The 28-year-old linked up with the team in south London as they completed preparations for the third one-day international against New Zealand, bowling an extended spell off his long run and following up with a gentler display of left-arm spin.
David Willey, who was cut from England’s preliminary squad in 2019 to make way for the newly-available Archer, admitted the paceman was in good rhythm as he returned to the set-up.
“Yeah, he looks in a good place. I don’t know where he’s at fitness wise but he’s bowling good wheels out there today,” said Willey.
“Everyone knows how good is he is, what he’s capable of and how he can impact games. So to have him close or not far away from being fit is obviously fantastic news.”
Also present at nets was Andrew Flintoff, the former England captain continuing to work with the side after his surprise return to the fold last week.
Flintoff had been out of the public eye since a serious car accident which took place last December during filming for Top Gear, but was encouraged to get involved by his friend and former team-mate Rob Key, who is managing director of men’s cricket at the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Willey has been enthused by the presence of one of the country’s most beloved all-rounders, adding: “It’s been great, to have him with us is fantastic.
“He’s a legend of the game, I grew up watching him play and to have him here with us, just his presence and everything he’s done in the game, is fantastic.
“It’s quite surreal receiving compliments from Freddie. So just to be able to pick his brain and talk to him about the game and have him around the group is fantastic.”