England’s Jofra Archer will want to play in deciding Test against West Indies despite scrutiny
Jofra Archer will be determined to play in the third and final #raisethebat Test against West Indies but England must be convinced he’s in the right frame of mind first, says James Anderson.
Archer revealed in his column for the Daily Mail that he endured racist abuse on social media after missing the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford for breaking bio-secure protocols and is not sure if he is “100 per cent mentally right”.
Fellow seamer Anderson also sat out England’s dramatic victory, which means the series is tied 1-1 ahead of Friday’s match, live on Sky Sports, but was rested given the demands of a congested international calendar.
England’s leading Test wicket-taker of all time says that Archer, who has admitted he felt uneasy about the scrutiny around him at the end of his five-day isolation spell at the ground, must develop coping mechanisms to help him deal with the interest in his career.
England vs W Indies
July 24, 2020, 10:30am
“We’ve not seen much of Jofra because he’s obviously been in isolation for a few days but, knowing him as I do, I’m sure he’ll want to play in this game, with it being so crucial and the series resting on it,” said Anderson.
“Over the next few days he’s going to have to sit down with the captain [Joe Root] and coach [Chris Silverwood] and figure out if he is in the right place to play.
“The scrutiny is always something that can be difficult for guys coming into the international set-up because it is very different; you do feel more under the spotlight and it’s just finding coping methods for that, finding ways of dealing with the extra attention.
“I was fortunate when I came into the England team that there was no social media, believe it or not back then. But the ways that people can get their opinions out there is quite visible.
“It’s about finding methods as a player to deal with that – I think using the team around him, whether that’s family, friends, management and the players and coaches here. I think it’s important that everyone does that – not just Jofra.”
Anderson is hopeful of returning to England’s attack on Friday to earn his 153rd Test cap on his home ground but with Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran all impressing in the second Test, and Archer and Mark Wood waiting in the wings, he admits that competition for place in the team has never been as fierce in his career.
After a titanic man-of-the-match display that captured 254 runs and three wickets, all-rounder Ben Stokes is now ranked as the leading all-rounder in Test cricket and Anderson believes the 29-year-old is the best he’s played with in his career.
“It’s hard to say how good he is because it’s hard to find the words,” said Anderson. “I saw Joe say the other day that we’re in the presence of greatness, and he’s spot on.
“The fact that he could get into any team as a batsman speaks volumes, his bowling is getting better and better each time he goes out there and he’d get into a lot of teams’ bowling attacks as well.
“It’s just amazing to have that talent in our team and it’s amazing to be able to watch it first-hand.
“After a week in which he’s done pretty much everything – he was chasing balls off his own bowling and batting most of the two innings that we did bat and getting wickets as well – it can take its toll so we’ve got to look after him and make sure we can keep getting the best out of him for as long as possible.
“He’s certainly the best all-rounder I’ve ever played with and I think he’s becoming the best all-rounder England have ever had. There’s no reason why he can’t go on and become even better. It’s incredible that we’ve got him on our team and it’s a pleasure to watch.”
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