The current skipper of England test team Joe Root pronounces that England will give Jofra Archer all the patience and understanding necessary to bring out the full potential of his Test career, after an occasionally passive show with the ball in the first Test against Pakistan at Emirates Old Trafford.
Regardless of taking four wickets in the match, together with an important first-innings pull of 3 for 59, Archer’s performance was lacking in vitality compared to the standards that he set in last summer’s Ashes.
Nevertheless, the analysis comes after a rough few weeks for Archer, who has been a first-choice pick for each of England’s four Tests this summer, but had to let go on the morning of the second Test against West Indies when it became apparent that he had breached England’s bio-secure bubble with a visit to his flat in Brighton en route from Southampton to Manchester.
Archer later spent a week in isolation in his room while being screened for Covid-19, in which time he agonized discriminatory exploitation on social media.
“We just need to be very understanding that he’s still very young in his Test career, and that there will be mistakes and lessons to be learnt. But as long as he’s willing to learn from them and to keep looking to improve and get better, we will continue to see very special things from him.” said Root
Archer, of course, secured his place in cricket history at Lord’s last July, when he held his nerve in the World Cup final Super Over to secure England’s maiden title, at the end of a campaign in which he was the team’s leading bowler with 20 wickets at 23.05.
“Just remember that, under very high pressure at the start of his career, he’s performed extremely well. He has done very special things against Australia in an Ashes series, right off the back of a World Cup under a heavy workload. He’s capable of winning games, there’s no doubt about that. He might have a quiet game every now and again, and he might not always get it right. But there will be times as well when it turns up and wins you a game in a session, and turns a game on its head”. Root added
“We’ve got to keep encouraging him to have that mindset, to have that confidence in his own ability, and when he gets an opportunity, to really make an impact. To take a spell by the scruff of the neck and hammer it home. Because he’s more than capable of doing that.” Root added
Still, there were instances at Old Trafford that might have been perfect for the sort of impact spells about which Root was talking – most notably, the third evening during Pakistan’s second innings, when a burst of Archer at his most fiery might have driven home England’s advantage. Instead, Chris Woakes was called upon to rough up Shadab Khan with a short-pitched spell, before Ben Stokes – a fitness doubt before the match – was thrown the ball to claim two late wickets with his characteristic aggression.
“Jofra is a huge talent, we all know that, and he’s not always going to get it right. He’s very young still and he’s still learning and there is definitely a lot of many winning performances in him.” Root concluded As the second Test is in progress at the Ageas Bowl, there’s a strong possibility
possibility that England will ring the changes to an attack that remained unchanged after the series victory against West Indies.
Sussex’s Ollie Robinson has already been withdrawn from Sussex’s county fixture against Kent and will link up with the squad, with a view to a potential Test debut, maybe at the expense of James Anderson, who is likely to be rested after two games in a row. Mark Wood is also a possible inclusion, having not featured since England’s first-Test loss to West Indies last month.
“The extra day definitely will help,” Root said, after England wrapped up the first Test on the fourth afternoon. “I think we’ll have to be quite smart, as we were in the previous series, and we’ll have to see how everyone pulls up.
“But we are in such a good position, with so many great options that all bases will be covered. We should have a very strong side, whatever the make-up of the Test side is.”