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Ed Smith: It was a ‘really tough call’ to David Willey

David Willey

England national selector Ed Smith has spoken of the calls made to players who missed out on a Cricket World Cup spot, with David Willey the member of the attack to miss out to Jofra Archer.

Smith revealed Willey’s exclusion from the final squad to play in the tournament was a ‘consensus’ decision made after discussions but was not unanimous.

Calling the Yorkshire all-rounder on Monday prior to the team announcement on Tuesday, Smith described Willey as handling the news with ‘dignity’ as Archer was fast-tracked in.

“That was a very difficult decision, I think the situation we were in as a selection panel, and in consultation with the captain, was we had more players we wanted to fit into the squad than we were allowed to, so it was a very tough call,” Smith said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“David Willey has been a big part of the one-day side, he has had such a good run, it was a really tough call but someone had to miss out.

“David was very unfortunate in missing out but he could easily have been in this World Cup squad, he deserves to be in the World Cup squad, but that’s sport. Sometimes there are more deserving people than there are places in the squad.

“He’s an outstanding man. He’s very honest, very, very dignified, very clear to the conversation we had, a very impressive man. He’s a very impressive cricketer, it is extremely unfortunate.”

Joe Denly and Alex Hales were also told they would not be in the squad, as Liam Dawson and James Vince were preferred.

Finalising the squad didn’t come with wholesale agreement from all members on the selection panel according to Smith, with captain Eoin Morgan having significant input.

“I wouldn’t get into that, I’d say it was a consensus decision” Smith commented. “I would say that everyone in the room was comfortable with the squad that the selection panel has come up with.

“It was very important for me as a selector, that the captain feels comfortable with the squad he takes into the World Cup, obviously.

“Eoin has been captain for over four years, the England one-day side has done extremely well, this is the culmination of a long campaign, a lot of planning, the culture of that team has been very strong under Eoin Morgan.

“He’s very comfortable with the squad, as we all are.”

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