David Willey out for Jofra Archer was 'tough call', says Ed Smith
'It was a very difficult decision ... David could easily have been in this World Cup squad'
Last Updated: 22/05/19 8:29am
Ed Smith admits David Willey was extremely unfortunate to be left out of England's 15-man World Cup squad in favour of Jofra Archer.
Willey, who picked up four scalps across three matches in the recent series against Pakistan, has taken 52 wickets in 46 ODIs.
Archer played just two games in the five-match series but showcased his great pace and ability to bang in bumpers and accurate yorkers.
"David Willey has been a very big part of the one-day side that has had such a good run and it was a really tough call but someone had to miss out," Smith told Sky Sports News.
"It was a very difficult decision. I think the situation we were in as a selection panel and in conversation with the captain we had more players we wanted to pick then we were allowed to.
"David could easily have been in this World Cup squad, he deserves to be but that's sport sometimes there are more deserving players than there are places in the squad.
"I spoke to David, he is an outstanding man, very honest, dignified and clear in the conversation we had. He is a very impressive man and cricketer and he is extremely unfortunate to miss out."
What can I say, I’m absolutely gutted. Still 100% behind the lads.
@david_willey on Twitter
England have won 11 of their last 12 matches at home and top the ICC's ODI rankings and Smith is confident that the introduction of Archer into the settled squad will not disrupt the team.
"Clearly it will not affect team spirit," he explained. "We've seen Jofra Archer play for England in the last few weeks against Pakistan, we've seen the skills and quality he has and seen the team perform with Archer in the squad - the success of the team carried on and I don't see that changing.
"It is clear that Archer brings different things to the squad. He is a very good, talented cricketer and a very exciting player. He has pace, bounce, athleticism, he is an outstanding talent and that was clear to all of us.
"Eoin (Morgan) has been captain for the last four years, the England one-day side has done extremely well and this is the culmination of a long campaign, a lot of planning, the culture of that team has been very strong under Morgan and he is happy with the squad, as we all are."
Liam Dawson was also preferred as a third spinner in the side ahead of Joe Denly, who was in the original team named in April.
Smith explained that with Adil Rashid nursing a shoulder niggle, Hampshire spin all-rounder Dawson offered more bowling protection than batting all-rounder Denly.
"With the position of a third spinner or reserve batter it is a very subtle balance issue," Smith said. "Do you tend towards who is a very good batter and a handy bowler - as with Joe Denly - or do you tend towards someone who is tilted towards a very good bowler but is also a handy batter?
"It was a difficult balance, it could have gone either way. Liam Dawson was always in contention, he was in the team in Sri Lanka and then a side injury forced him. Denly came in and stayed in even with limited opportunities he has had.
"Adil has a little niggle, hopefully he will be fine and it won't affect him playing a full part in the competition but that slightly tilts things towards spin cover as a priority rather than a batting reserve.
"Denly was very unfortunate to miss out as well, he is a very good all-round player, was the MVP in last year's One-Day Cup, has had success around the world in franchise cricket but ultimately that spot tilted towards having spin cover."