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Chris Jordan: An invaluable constant among England’s T20 variables

Death-overs bowling, lower-order power-hitting and acrobatic fielding. It is very hard to find players who specialize in all three of these departments. So, if a certain player has any two or even one of these abilities, he would become a star for his team. He would hog the limelight and make headlines every moment. And here is Chris Jordan who has exceptional capabilities in all three of these departments but he hardly gets as much attention as the other popular names of today.

In fact, the 32-year-old was seen at the peak of his abilities once again on Sunday in a T20I against New Zealand at Wellington. Firstly, he registered a superb bowling spell of 4-0-28-3. All three of his scalps came in the death overs while conceding only 12 runs and, that too, at a mean economy rate of 6.00. And, then, he went on to give New Zealand a scare with his 19-ball knock of 36 runs, studded with three sixes and an equal number of fours.

Not only that, Jordan held on to the only catch that came his way and put on an exceptional show of ground fielding while most of his other English teammates were busy making a mess out of simple chances.

Yes, England still went on to lose the match but Jordan’s performance showed how much value he adds to England’s T20 unit. In fact, this has been a format which England have used extensively to rest their all-format players ever since the last T20 World Cup in India back in 2016. They have tried 29 players in a total of 23 T20Is during this period and that sums up the number of variables they have had during this time-frame. But Jordan is the only constant who has featured in all 23 of these matches. And his overall numbers in these outings show why he is a vital part of this unit.

The Barbados-born pacer is the highest wicket-taker for England in T20Is since the T20 World Cup of 2016 with 34 scalps to his name. The next best, Adil Rashid, is far behind with 24 wickets in 21 matches. Moreover, Jordan is one of the only five English bowlers to have featured in 10 or more matches during this period with his average and strike-rate of 21.52 and 15.2 respectively being the best among these bowlers. Yes, his economy rate of 8.44 is a bit on the higher side but that can be understood considering that he bowls a high percentage of death-overs for England. 

However, his recent performances show that he has worked on improving his run-checking ability. Instead of just focusing on delivering pin-point yorkers, Jordan has also developed a couple of change-ups to mix up his deliveries. 

Moreover, he has cut down the percentage of his short-balls too. Anybody bowling at more than 140 Kph would be tempted to use the short deliveries a lot but Jordan is curbing his instincts very well. In fact, the results are visible in his bowling numbers from the last seven T20Is. 

He has not only picked up 14 wickets during the course of these matches but has done so while conceding runs only at a mean overall economy-rate of 6.82. So, that tells us about how much he has improved as a bowler of late.

But there is still doubt whether he would remain one of the first-choice players when England’s all-format regulars return to make their case for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. 

England has a variety of bowling options in the likes of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett who are equally adept at wielding the willow as well. And the list never seems to end with the influx of new players like Saqib Mahmood, Tom Curran and Sam Curran. 

So it remains to be seen where Jordan ends up when these players return. However, if he continues to deliver in the way he is delivering now, it is definitely going to be hard to ignore him.

About Prasenjit Dey

Prasenjit Dey is freelance cricket journalist based out of Kolkata, India. Cricket runs through his veins and writing has always been his passion. He is now a part of both worlds, trying to make a difference by writing on the nitty-gritty of the game.

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