Enter, quite innocently, Jofra Archer. Archer will qualify to play for England on Sunday, 10 weeks before their opening World Cup match. It has been a slightly strange process in itself. Archer has a British passport. He can live and work as an Englishman but not as an England cricketer, which required its own seven-year ECB qualification period.
This was scaled back in November, at the end of a year when Archer – no doubt unrelated – had shown the full depth of his talent in the franchise leagues, snaking the ball around at fearsome speed, with an ability to swallow down the occasion whole, unfazed by crowds or pressure (not many have worked Gayle over in T20 cricket: Archer has).
And so here we are on the verge of a fiddle-faddle. England will pick a provisional squad in April. They then have a final audition of seven ODIs in 16 days before the final deadline in May. At the end of which, given the tremors of anxiety, and given his obvious talent, Archer has a good chance of being rushed into the belly of England’s World Cup machine.