With the start of a new year, sports enthusiasts around the world have started listing their best moments and favourite players. Cricket fans are no different and greats like Kohli, Babar Azam, and Ben Stokes are always trending. However, who we want to talk about is not one of these players who have been around for a while now. We want to talk about the Barmy Army’s (England Cricket Fan Club) new favourite. The man, the myth, the legend, Jofra Archer. Although we did list him as number 1 on our promising young cricketers of 2019 list, we want to talk about how he is not just a promising player with potential, but about how he has already shown so much of that promise. Let’s talk about the meteoric rise of Jofra Archer.
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It is incredible to note that if the English Cricket Board had not changed regulations, Archer would not have been eligible to play for the 3 lions until the winter of 2022. Call it fate or luck, the rule change made a remarkable impact on the history of England as a cricket team and Archer as a player. Barbados born quick had represented the West Indies U-19 team 3 times, but even after repeated offers, he stood strong to his resolve to play for England. Destiny had 22 on his England jersey all along.
Image source: The Argus
When the 3 lions finally gave him his international call up to play against Pakistan and Ireland, many criticized that the pace options for England were already stacked and they did not need a newcomer just before the world cup. Jofra was disappointed when he was not named in England’s preliminary squad. England legend Andrew Flintoff said he would drop anyone to put Archer in the squad. Later though, he was included in the final squad and boy was England lucky to pick him.
We say England was lucky, not Archer and there are reasons for it. He went on to play all matches for the 3 lions at the World Cup where he picked 20 wickets. Archer was also the one to bowl that intense super over in the final against New Zealand. He dismantled every team he faced. He was rightly named in the team of the tournament too. His fiery pace and his X factor were the most important reasons England finally won a world cup. Therefore, we say England was lucky to have Jofra Archer, not the other way around.
After the World Cup, he became a must in the team and was subsequently selected to play the Ashes. He was the third-highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets. He proved he is just as good with the red ball as he is with the white. We stated in our previous article that no one has had such an instant impact on international cricket as Archer has had and we stand by that statement.
Image source: Cricinfo
He has not played ODIs since the World Cup as he is being used as a key member in the Test Squad. After the Ashes, he played 2 Tests against the Kiwis and one against the Proteas before suffering from a minor injury. He recently got a brilliant 5 wicket haul against South Africa. His bowling numbers in international cricket are as follows.
Matches:7 Wickets:30 Average:27.40 Econ:3.00 S/R:54.8.
Matches:14 Wickets:23 Average:24.73 Econ:4.63 S/R:32.0.
2/29 at an average of 14.50 with an economy of 7.25 and a S/R of 12.0.
Archer is just 24 and already has a World Cup medal. That is too much of an ego boost for a young man, especially a fast bowler of his capacity. His numbers prove that he will go a long way if he keeps playing consistently and his fitness is taken care of. His aura, his charisma, his personality in a whole is something that is a glimpse of the 80s West indies pacers. He is a reminder of how the likes of Joel Garner and Michael Holding instilled fear in the best of batsmen. Malcom Marshal would also be proud that Archer came from his home town. It is safe to say that the Caribbean will always produce charismatic fast bowlers, no matter where they end up playing!
Feature image source: Cricinfo