David Willey’s 4/7 makes him a World Cup contender: Mark Butcher
David Willey took 4/7 in three overs as England ripped through West Indies. © AFP

The former England opener turned TV analyst Mark Butcher feels that David Willey‘s stunning bowling performance in the final T20I against West Indies has underlined why he could play a key role during the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Willey claimed a career-best 4/7 in three overs in St Kitts on Monday to bowl out West Indies for 71, which Butcher felt was a spell the left-arm pacer could emulate in an ODI. (READ: David Willey stars as West Indies routed for 71)

“Willey has done exactly what he would be asked to do if he played in a one-day international,” he told Sky Sports Cricket. “He’ll take the new ball and probably won’t do anything else – he probably won’t bowl in the middle and he definitely won’t bowl at the end. If it swings, he is going to be the guy that gets us three wickets in the powerplay and then the rest of the guys can go to work.”

England coach Trevor Bayliss hinted after England’s win to seal the series 3-0 that the selectors could rest some of the big names for the ODIs at home in May against Pakistan, in order for the fringe players to stake a claim for the World Cup. Among them are Willey, Chris Jordan and the uncapped Jorfa Archer who will be eligible to represent England this month.

While Butcher backed Willey to make England’s World Cup 15, he said he would not be alarmed if Jordan – who last played an ODI in 2016 – and Archer gatecrash the squad. Jordan was Man of the Series in the T20Is, having taken 2/16 and 4/6. (READ: ‘I hope the ship hasn’t sailed’ – Chris Jordan)

“Archer is the triple threat, which is why he puts all of them [the seamers] under pressure,” he said. “The preferred usage for Willey is up front, the preferred usage for Liam Plunkett is in the middle and the preferred usage for Tom Curran is at the end. All three of those guys have their specialist area but not all areas, which is where Archer comes into play – and where perhaps Jordan comes into play. READ: Willey questions the logic of fast-tracking Archer)

“You could throw him the ball in any one of those situations and he is a dynamite fielder as well. All of those competing for spots can dong it with the bat at 8, 9 or 10 but with the ball some have more use as a squad player than others.” (READ: Archer could gate-crash England’s World Cup squad: Bayliss)

With Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali rested, Butcher was impressed with the way the replacement players stood up.

“Okay, Windies weren’t great but all of these guys have pushed their case forward and said: ‘Don’t forget about us, if anything happens to the other fellas, we are right here and ready to play’,” said Butcher. “Every single one of England’s fringe players and every single one of those players who might be feeling the pressure from Archer – whose ghost appears to be hanging around all the players outside of the first XI – have all done something in this series.

“That will make them feel better and everyone else know they can’t afford to drop off with their performances.”