Jofra Archer insists he's in right frame of mind to face West Indies

Let me play! Jofra Archer insists he’s in right frame of mind to face West Indies in Test decider… as England star tells captain Joe Root he used Sportsmail column to air frustrations after suffering racial abuse on social media

  • Jofra Archer is set to be included in England’s squad to face the West Indies
  • He told Sportsmail he was struggling for motivation after five days of quarantine
  • Archer also wrote passionately about the racial abuse he has suffered online
  • But England star has now told his coach and captain he is ready to play on Friday 

Jofra Archer is set to be included in England’s squad for Friday’s decisive third Test against West Indies after insisting he is in the right frame of mind to help reclaim the Wisden Trophy.

Archer sent team management into a tailspin on Tuesday night when it emerged he had told Sportsmail he was ‘struggling for motivation’ after five days of coronavirus quarantine in his Manchester hotel room.

He also wrote passionately about the racial abuse he has faced on social media and admitted he had to feel confident of giving ‘100 per cent’ on the field as England seek to build on their victory in the second Test and claim the series 2-1.

Jofra Archer insists he is ready to play for England in the deciding Test match vs West Indies

But he has since told coach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root that he used his column to get frustrations off his chest. He has said he is ready to form part of an attack that is set to include Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad for the first time this summer.

With England planning to retain off-spinner Dom Bess, the management must now decide whether to take Archer at his word and pick him in the final XI ahead of Mark Wood.

‘We’ve not seen much of Jofra because he’s been in isolation for a few days,’ said Anderson. ‘I’m sure he’ll want to play in this game because it’s so crucial, with the series resting on it.’

Asked about Archer’s mental state following the criticism he received for bursting England’s biosecure bubble with a visit to his home in Hove, Anderson replied: ‘It’s always something that can be difficult for guys coming into the international set-up because I think the scrutiny is very different. You do feel more under the spotlight.

Archer took part in the nets less than 24 hours after revealing he has suffered racial abuse

‘It’s just finding coping methods for that and using the team around him – whether that’s family, friends, management and the players and coaches here. It’s important everyone does that, not just Jofra.’

Archer was spoken to by Root and vice-captain Ben Stokes every day during self-isolation and on Wednesday received backing from his Sussex team-mate and close friend Chris Jordan.

‘I’ve read Jofra’s article and I thought it was honest and came from the heart,’ Jordan told Sky Sports. ‘And I think it took a lot of courage as well. It’s super important he has someone like Ben Stokes around him, after all the things Ben has been through.

‘A hundred per cent he’ll be ready to play in this Test. The kid I know will want to play. The last five days have been very difficult in terms of his emotions, but I’m sure he will be in a position to cross that line and get out there again.’

Archer wrote an honest column for Sportsmail, citing the abuse he received on social media

England would have preferred it if Archer had confided in a senior team member rather than air his grievances in a newspaper and are keen to ensure his career does not veer into soap opera territory.

But one dressing-room source summed up the mood: ‘We love him as a guy. He’s massively respected.’

The selectors must now weigh up the risks of picking a young man who has spoken of his vulnerability and will inevitably attract more scrutiny than any of his team-mates, against the dangers of allowing him to stew over things in his hotel room again while a Test match takes place 100 yards away.

Former England captain Andrew Strauss, who will be at the game to raise awareness for the Ruth Strauss Foundation, said Archer had made a ‘pretty substantial mistake’.

The 25-year-old seemed in good spirits during England’s net session on Wednesday

But he added: ‘We’re obviously conscious of what he’s been through over the last week, which sounded like a tough time in isolation.

‘Him feeling like public enemy No 1 is not a great thing for his mental health.’

Meanwhile Anderson, who was rested from the second Test, dismissed suggestions that his age-old partnership with Broad, who was left out of the first match, is nearing its conclusion.

‘I really hope not,’ he said. ‘Our record together speaks for itself. I’d really like to think that if we’re in a situation where we’re both fit and England are picking their strongest attack, then we’d both be in that.’

But Anderson, who turns 38 next week, conceded that rest and rotation could come into play more often as the selectors seek to squeeze the best from what remains of his career.

‘Looking at the bigger picture, I want to be around when we go to Australia for the next Ashes in 2021-22, so to be able to do that, you’ve probably got to do things slightly differently,’ he said. 

Archer looks set to represent his country in their final Test against the West Indies 

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