Archer gives England a selection dilemma

Rory Dollard
Jofra Archer's return gives England selection headache for the final Test against the West Indies

England are preparing to make their trickiest selection call of the summer after Jofra Archer received the all-clear from coronavirus and rejoined his team-mates ahead of the series decider against the West Indies.

Archer was removed from the squad on the eve of the second Test after it emerged he had breached the bio-security protocols with an unauthorised trip to Hove and spent the next five days in his on-site hotel room at Emirates Old Trafford.

His only exemptions were solitary fitness and training sessions but, after twice testing negative, he has been re-admitted to an inner sanctum that contains a host of fast bowlers desperate to see action.

Archer will be eager to have his name in the spotlight for the right reasons, but head coach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root also have James Anderson and Mark Wood fully fit after rests.

Add in Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, who all played important supporting roles to Ben Stokes' man-of-the-match display last time out - and a thorny decision awaits.

Archer received a written warning and a fine of around STG15,000 ($A26,000) for his lapse in judgement, but is due to enter the debate with a clean slate.

"He'll integrate back into the squad as usual," said Silverwood.

"He's done his five days and got his tests back which is great and he'll integrate back into the squad. Jofra has been looked after and I'll think he'll be pretty glad to get back in amongst us to be honest."

Since his debut last summer Archer has never missed out on cricketing grounds, while Broad will consider his point made after he responded to being left out of the first Test with match figures of six for 108.

Throw in the most prolific seamer in Test history, Anderson, and you might have the line-up.

That would mean no place for the only left-armer (Curran), the fastest bowler of the bunch (Wood) or the man branded by Root as 'Mr Dependable' (Woakes), but Silverwood knows it will be hard on whoever misses out.

"It's never easy, and you're always going to get push back, but you try to be as honest as possible," he said.

"They are good conversations, a great headache to have. When you're leaving out world-class players, from my point of view it's a very good place for English cricket to be."

Silverwood made it clear Dom Bess remained "in possession" of the number one spinner's role over Somerset team-mate Jack Leach, but England may flirt with the idea of going for all-out pace backed up by Root's off-breaks.