England’s comfortable win over West Indies in the first Twenty20 on Tuesday night may have felt slightly subdued after the one-day series, but for the players involved it was another opportunity to impress.
While West Indies’ side looked similar to their 50-over incarnation, England’s reflected their desire to give fringe players a chance to shine.
With Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler sent home to rest and Mark Wood on the sidelines we saw some faces for the first time in a while.
Chris Jordan was the one to make his mark, taking 2-16 in three overs to give selector Ed Smith a reminder of his talents.
Jordan has turned into a T20 specialist in recent years, playing for franchises all around the world, but hasn’t played an ODI since September 2016.
With the World Cup on the horizon he was keen to catch the eye and he did just that, dismissing danger man Chris Gayle, who plundered runs in the ODI series, and getting Darren Bravo with a brilliant, athletic caught-and-bowled.
The 30-year-old has naturally slipped out of the picture in 50-over cricket, with young guns like Tom and Sam Curran moving ahead of him, but there’s no reason why he couldn’t make a comeback.
As he’s shown with stunning grabs for England, Sussex and teams around the globe, he’s one of the best fielders in the world, which is important in the white-ball formats.
Although he’s not a quick as when I played with him at Surrey, he’s still got pace and is always good at the death due to his yorkers and slower balls.
The jump up from bowling four overs in T20 and 10 in ODIs is a big one though, because it calls for consistency. Jordan has previously been guilty of lacking control with the new ball and conceding too many runs in the powerplay.
With Jofra Archer soon to be eligible, Jordan could end up being a victim of his friend and team mate, who fields just as well, is younger, bowls faster and has that X-factor selectors are looking for.
However, injuries can strike bowlers at any time and a few more strong showings in the final two T20s could mean Jordan gets a spot as a back-up in this summer’s World Cup.
Alongside Jordan there were plenty of others auditioning in St Lucia. Tom Curran took 4-36, Joe Denly made 30 with the bat and took 1-28 with his leg-spin and Sam Billings scored 18.
It can be frustrating when you’ve been on the sidelines – I’ve been there – but you’ve got to keep knocking on the door when you can and performing when you get the chance; just think back to how Ben Foakes took his opportunity in the Tests in Sri Lanka.
England’s depth in the shorter formats is impressive and it’s a lovely problem to have as the World Cup nears. When you consider the options they have it’s in stark contrast to the batting situation in the Test side.
It’s likely there will be an injury or a loss of form between now and the opening World Cup match against South Africa at The Oval on 30 May.
Those waiting in the wings just have to keep doing all they can.