THEY knew Jofra Archer was special.
That is why English cricket chiefs put their own rulebook through the shredder just to get him here.
And as he lined up against his native West Indies in a comprehensive England win at Southampton, there was further evidence Archer could be the breakthrough star of this sporting summer.
There were three wickets, including two in two balls.
There was plenty of the old 90mph fire-in-Babylon chin music. There was the languid brutality we expect from the very best Caribbean quick bowlers.
This is arguably the biggest summer in English cricketing history — this home World Cup followed by an Ashes series.
And so a sport struggling with an identity crisis needed a brave new hope to pin its hopes on.
Barbados born and bred, but with an English father and a British passport, Archer, 24, is a far more authentic England player than many who have worn the three lions in recent years — not least his Irish skipper Eoin Morgan.
This is the way of a globalised world, of course.
And the ECB have only brought themselves in line with the rest of the cricketing world by cutting their residency requirements from seven years down to three.
But they blatantly made that move so that Archer could play in this tournament.
And, as seems increasingly likely, so that he can have a crack at the Aussies as well.
His was the most eagerly-awaited England debut since Kevin Pietersen’s in the epic Ashes summer of 2005 and that one went well. The West Indians have been publicly sanguine about Archer’s decision to switch allegiance to England after playing three times for his home region at Under-19 level.
But Chris Gayle made an attempt to put the young upstart in his place early on.
After almost playing on to Archer, the West Indian powerhouse promptly despatched him for successive boundaries.
Archer, though, roughed up Shai Hope with a couple of outstanding bouncers and, in his second spell, grabbed the key wicket of top scorer Nicholas Pooran — who gloved a short one.
Then Archer trapped Sheldon Cottrell first ball and added the dangerous Carlos Brathwaite for good measure as the Windies were dismissed for 212 with more than five overs left.
This wasn’t his absolute peak but Archer is building up a head of steam in a competition which is going to be a slow burner. All in all this tournament, with its five-week round-robin group stage, is struggling to ignite.
Most Read Cricket News
A series of washouts haven’t helped and there has also been a lack of heart- stopping finishes — with this crushing eight-wicket victory as one-sided as any.
And there could easily be a nightmare scenario for the tournament organisers, that four nations — England, India, Australia and New Zealand — are so far ahead of the rest that we may end up with ten days’ worth of dead rubbers before the semi-finals in early July.
But when that final week does come round, England have genuine hope of glory — especially if Archer is at his dead-eyed best.