Lessons to be learned after Jofra Archer bursts England’s bubble

A sports star reprimanded for returning home. Is there a more vivid sign of the times? English cricket could have been saved from a great deal of strife had Ben Stokes or Alex Hales made that decision in Bristol three years ago. But in the middle of a pandemic, it was a move that almost brought the establishment to its knees.

There was an innocence to Jofra Archer’s return to his flat in Hove after leaving The Ageas Bowl on the way to Emirates Old Trafford, even if it was out of wilful ignorance. That was encapsulated by the manner in which the unsanctioned detour came to light: coming up in casual conversation with a member of staff who was duty bound to alert senior management of the situation.

It was only an hour, he says, but an hour and a stop-off more than the England and Wales Cricket Board had mapped out for their players on the 230-mile trip. One that direct of men’s cricket Ashley Giles says could have cost the ECB “tens of millions”. Had he picked up something and failed his Covid-19 test, or passed it to someone within the internal bubble, this series would have certainly been called to a halt. Who knows what would have become of the summer.

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