Chris Jordan reminded England his “little brother” Jofra Archer is not their only Barbados-born option for the World Cup with a timely showcase of his own talents against the West Indies.
Archer becomes available for selection later this month and has been virtually guaranteed a chance to break into England’s final 15 by head coach Trevor Bayliss.
People think he’s just a big hitter, but he actually has a lot of skill with it. He thinks about the game and has so much experience,.Chris Jordan
Jordan appears to be a longer shot for the tournament, holding down a key role in the Twenty20 side but winning the last of his 31 one-day international caps in September 2016.
Quite why the seamer has been so peripheral to the 50-over team is puzzling, but he at least forced himself back into the conversation with an impressive showing in St Lucia, where England defeated the Windies by five wickets in their T20 opener.
Jordan took 2-16 in a skilful spell, dismissing danger man Chris Gayle with a trademark wide yorker and baffling Darren Bravo with a slower ball before leaping to claim a one-handed return catch.
Time may be running out to win back his ODI place, but the 30-year-old has not given up.
“I hope the ship hasn’t sailed,” said the Sussex seamer.
“I’ve had conversations with Ed Smith (the national selector), particularly when squads are being picked and he’s always said I’m there or thereabouts in the discussions.
“That gives me encouragement, but T20 cricket is what I’m involved with at the minute, anything past that I’ll leave to the selectors and the captain.”
While Jordan has been kept in the loop by Smith, conversations with his friend, county team-mate and fellow Bajan Archer are much more frequent.
They may soon be vying for a similar role, but there is nothing but support between the pair.
“I speak to him every day, literally every day, he’s like my little brother,” said Jordan.
“There is noise about him potentially playing in (the next) series. He still has to qualify, which I think has another week or so to go, but if it happens it’s a dream come true for him.
“I’m more than certain he’ll rise to the occasion because he’s that type of person and that type of character. One of the things I admire about Jofra is for a kid so young he’s got a good head on his shoulders.”
Archer has been known to take some stunning catches on the franchise circuit, but few players can boast reactions as consistently sharp as Jordan’s.
The athletic caught and bowled to see off Bravo was his 50th in England colours, a collection that includes some sensational takes across all three formats.
In an era of marginal gains, Jordan’s impeccable hands are a valuable asset. “That was a good one!” he said with a smile.
“I pride myself on my fielding and I work hard on it, to keep improving even from a high level.
“Not many catches are that easy to be honest, you do see them go down in games. You try to practice as much as possible and when moments like that come you’ve almost played it over in your head already. I’m just glad it came off.”
England will be equally pleased he was able to dismiss Gayle cheaply, following the veteran’s man-of-the-series showing in the drawn ODI campaign.
“I try to be a student of the game and I was following that series quite closely,” said Jordan.
“People think he’s just a big hitter, but he actually has a lot of skill with it. He thinks about the game and has so much experience, but luckily the ball didn’t fly around as much this time and we got him. I stemmed the flow quite early so I’m thankful for that.”
Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow enjoyed taking centre stage as England began the T20 series with a five-wicket victory in St Lucia.
With regular openers Jason Roy and Jos Buttler among four players rested for the final leg of the Caribbean tour, the ever versatile Bairstow was shunted to the head of the innings for the first time in 28 matches.
With so much firepower back at home, there was plenty of extra responsibility on the 29-year-old, a burden he carried lightly as he led a successful chase of 161 with a career-best 68 in 40 balls.
“I think that (expectation) is a great thing to have on you, a feather in your cap,” he said.
“To be able to say you’re staying to play and to get an opportunity opening the batting when I’ve previously batted in the middle order was great fun.
“I’m pleased because I’ve not played too many T20s recently and it was good to be able to go out and play with freedom and enjoyment.”
Adil Rashid’s control and ability to turn the ball both ways rendered him the standout bowler in either team, while Tom Curran outshone by a couple of colleagues despite finishing with figures of 4-36.
The tour concludes with a double header in St Kitts on Friday and Sunday.
There is still no television deal in place for the games, with Sky Sports and Cricket West Indies in ongoing negotiations, but some form of UK broadcast seems inevitable given the shared interests of the local tourist board and the Windies’ sponsors.