David Willey holds no grudge against Jofra Archer but 'gutted' over World Cup omission
"All the lads knew someone was going to miss out - it could have been anyone but it was me."
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 25/05/19 9:27am
David Willey described his Cricket World Cup omission as the "hardest point" of his career but feels no bitterness over Jofra Archer's selection.
Archer was selected in England's final squad - as Willey missed out - after the ECB changed their their residency rule last year, with the Barbadian-born fast bowler qualifying in time to make his debut against Ireland earlier this month.
Nassar Hussein said it was the right call to include Archer, but added: "Willey would have heard, 'You have been replaced by someone who has bowled 22 overs for England.'"
How Archer became available for England
Because Jofra Archer entered the UK in 2015 - after his 18th birthday - he previously required a seven-year residency period before becoming available for selection, which would have been in 2022. However, the ECB reduced the residency period from seven to three years in November 2018, meaning he became available for selection in 2019.
However, Willey described Archer as a "great talent" and says he holds no grudge.
"It is what it is. You could look at it and be bitter but I'm not going to do that," Willey told Sky Sports. "He's a great talent, there's no doubt he's a great asset to have coming into a World Cup.
"All the lads knew someone was going to miss out - it could have been anyone but it was me. I have to come away and become a better cricketer to force my way back in."
Willey revealed he was told that he would miss out in what was the "worst phone call" he has ever received.
"I got a call the night before it came out from [national selector] Ed Smith," he said. "He told me that I was missing out then gave me the reasons why. [I'm] gutted to miss out on a World Cup on home soil but I respect the reasons that they gave to me and I just have to crack on.
"It's probably the hardest point of my career. I don't think I've missed an England squad in the last four years apart from one in Sri Lanka when I was injured.
"I've been gearing towards this. It's what you dream of as a kid, it's what I've been working towards and want to be a part of. Anyone in my situation would be gutted, heartbroken.
"But there's no point dwelling on it or being bitter because it's not going to do me any favours.
"I had my family around me and my kids, so all wasn't bad. I'm very fortunate I've got my beautiful wife and children.
"If you need some strong support and people to put a smile on your face then this is the time and I'm grateful for having them. The little kids keep me busy and keep my feet on the ground."
The 29-year-old says captain Eoin Morgan and the rest of the team were in touch to offer support after the squad was announced.
"He [Morgan] dropped me a message," Willey added. "I think all the lads messaged me which was nice."
England's 4-0 ODI series victory over Pakistan this month was the last opportunity for players to stake a claim for a place at the World Cup, and Willey says the competition did not negative impact the team environment.
"I felt like that Pakistan series was the most pressure I've ever played under on a cricket field," he said.
"It's a testament to the group the way the lads went about it; we could do the maths, we knew someone was going to miss out but we still wished everyone to do well when they were playing.
"There's no better time to be watching English cricket in this format. It will be exciting to watch and I wish the lads all the best throughout the competition and I do hope that England are champions."
Watch England's World Cup warm-up matches against Australia (Saturday, 10.20am) and Afghanistan (Monday, 10.20am) live on Sky Sports