Trevor Bayliss believes the mere prospect of Jofra Archer gatecrashing England’s World Cup squad inspired his bowlers to “raise the bar” in the West Indies.
Archer has loomed large over the entire limited-overs leg of England’s Caribbean tour, with head coach Bayliss promising the Barbados-born seamer a chance to audition for a tournament place after he formally qualifies in the coming days.
That turned the microscope firmly on more established members of the set-up, with the three-match Twenty20 series providing a final chance to prove themselves before Archer’s arrival.
Having upped their own level, the onus will now be turned back on 23-year-old Archer to show he can improve on what is already available.
“It was great to see those guys raise the bar and put in the performances they did over the T20s,” said Bayliss.
“What I will say is with the chat that has been around about Jofra in the last month or two it’s been good to see the response we’ve had from the bowlers.
“The performances on this trip have been fantastic. Sometimes the best pressure is from within and there hasn’t been a lot of pressure on the group from a bowling point of view for a while.
“With that chat about Jofra the guys we’ve got here have really stood up and bowled extremely well.”
Bayliss confirmed that Jordan had done enough to make himself a contender, claiming man-of-the-series honours with six wickets for just 36 runs as well as a couple of stunning catches to add to his growing collection.
The 30-year-old has not played a one-day international since September 2016 but now looks certain to join his friend and Sussex team-mate Archer in earning a late chance to impress.
“He’s thrown his hat in the ring, certainly after what he’s shown in these three T20s,” said Bayliss.
“We’ve got to finalise the team on the May 22. I think Jofra will probably will get some games during the Pakistan series beforehand but there’s the possibility of someone like CJ getting a game as well.”
“That is maybe one of those luxury type positions,” he explained.
“He’s a guy that can bat in the top six or seven, he can bowl leg-spin and he’s a good fielder. If someone was to get injured, instead of dropping them out and someone else coming in, with Joe in there you could carry them for a while and see if they get out of the injury.”
The West Indies trip marked Bayliss’ final overseas tour in charge of England, a one-game stop in Dublin in May notwithstanding, and leaves him on the cusp of a summer that will define his legacy.
“It’s just round the corner now and this summer is something we’ve been working towards for the last four years,” he said.
“The World Cup and Ashes, it doesn’t get too much bigger than that and I’m very much looking forward to it.
“There’s no reason why we can’t (win both) but there’s going to be a lot of hard work.”