Eoin Morgan has poured cold water on Jofra Archer making his World Cup squad next summer should the highly rated fast bowler’s England qualification be fast-tracked.

Archer was born in Barbados but despite holding a British passport is midway through a seven-year wait to become eligible for selection. The 23-year-old, who plays for Sussex, will be available in 2022 provided he is in the UK for 210 days each year between now and then.

Ever since Archer shot to greater prominence in Australia’s Big Bash League last winter – at a time when England’s lack of outright fast bowlers was being exposed during the Ashes – there have been clandestine talks at the England and Wales Cricket Board regarding a return to the four-year period that was in place up until 2012.

This would make Archer eligible for next summer’s home World Cup and the Ashes series that follows straight after. But in terms of the former, Morgan, England’s 50-over captain, appears set on his current players.

Asked if he was pushing for Archer, Morgan said: “No. He’s very impressive but absolutely not. He’s a guy that, if he was English qualified, we’d have looked at him [during the winter]. He would have gone on some Lions trip and from there seen what happened.”

In the event Archer suddenly did become available, would it be too late to break into the World Cup squad next summer? “Providing everyone is fit, I think so,” said Morgan.

It was the ECB that voluntarily tightened its own rules, with Keaton Jennings the last overseas-born player to serve the old four-year period when he made his Test debut in December 2016. A reversal would need to be agreed by the 12-strong board and though they could claim they are simply matching the rest of the world doing so the first time a player of interest came along would also invite ridicule.

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Meanwhile on Sunday England will play in front of a sellout 4,000 crowd at the Grange in Edinburgh, for the start of what can be probably described as the 2018 international white-ball summer (given the next eight weeks are dedicated solely to the short stuff). Scotland are first up for this one-off, 50-over affair, before Australia over five matches and India three, with some Twenty20s against the pair for good measure.

This block of fixtures is England’s final proving ground for the World Cup, sitting as it does in roughly the same chunk of summer and witnessing nine of the 24 one-day internationals they play before the tournament starts for real against South Africa at the Oval on 30 May.

Certainly Morgan, wants a thorough test. “There’ll be [ups and downs] and I hope there’s more to come because if we carry on doing really well and not making mistakes, it’s not going to work,” he said. “You are going to have to make mistakes within a year because nobody’s perfect.”

Scotland were one of the two teams England managed to beat in their otherwise lamentable World Cup campaign of 2015. While they will sadly not feature in next year’s slimmed-down, commercially-driven event, Kyle Coetzer’s side can lay claim to being the leading associate nation now that Ireland and Afghanistan have joined the top table.

Their World Cup qualifying campaign in March ended with them being cruelly denied by rain and a dodgy lbw decision but they impressed along the way, beating Afghanistan, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates, and tying with hosts, Zimbabwe, before defeats to Ireland and West Indies meant the door was slammed in their faces.

Even without the injured Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, or the rested Jos Buttler, Morgan’s men represent a fair old leap from these recent opponents, sitting as they do atop the one-day rankings after six series wins from six.

No side has scored quicker in this time, struck more than their 1,518 fours or 355 sixes, come close to their 27 totals of 300-plus, nor topped 126 individual scores of 50 or more. When Alex Hales – five centuries and due to bat No 3 here with Stokes out – is struggling to hold down a place, and a so-called tailender in David Willey plundered 131 and 71 for Yorkshire recently, little wonder Coetzer called them Scotland’s toughest opponents ever.

But while Derbyshire’s Safyaan Sharif and the Hampshire pair of Brad Wheal and Chris Sole face a job containing England – not least on a small club ground with the boundaries in to accommodate the television gantry – then Scotland could find some joy with the bat. Coetzer is a fine player with plenty of county experience, while Calum McLeod should provide an intriguing opponent for Adil Rashid’s leg-breaks.

England (probable): Bairstow, Roy, Hales, Root, Morgan (c), Billings (wk), Moeen, Rashid, Willey, Plunkett, Wood. Scotland (possible): Coetzer (c) Mommsen, Cross (wk), MacLeod, Berrington, Munsey, Leask, Sharif, Sole, Evans, Wheal.



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