Cricket Sports

Archer fired up for Lord’s Test but warns against “miracles”

Barbadian fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer has dismissed suggestions he is not yet up to the rigours of red-ball cricket but has also tempered expectations ahead of his much-anticipated Test debut at Lord’s on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old, England’s leading bowler during their recent World Cup triumph, is expected to replace injured veteran seamer Jimmy Anderson in the home side’s final XI to face Australia in the second Ashes Test.

And with Australia head coach Justin Langer already raising question marks over his ability in the longer format, Archer said he was champing at the bit to prove himself.

“I’m probably more ready than I’ve ever been. I’ve bowled 50 overs in one game already for Sussex and I’m usually the one bowling the most overs anyway,” Archer told media here.

“I don’t think Justin Langer has seen me play first-class cricket. I usually bowl 40 overs every game. I think he has another thing coming.”

He added: “I personally believe in Test cricket you get a lot more opportunities to redeem yourself. In 50-over cricket if you don’t have a good 10 overs, that’s it – you’ve got to wait till the next game. But you have ample chances to do it in a red-ball game.”

Archer first came to prominence in first class cricket for Sussex in 2017, scoring 638 runs and snatching 61 wickets in a remarkable Championship campaign.

The performance landed him lucrative Twenty20 deals in the Australia Big Bash and the Indian Premier League, and enhanced his stock as a white-ball bowler.

Limited to just eight appearance in the 2018 championship season, Archer still picked up an amazing 42 wickets at 17 runs apiece to impress yet again.

He made his debut for England earlier this year and subsequently led their attack during the World Cup with 20 wickets, also bowling a dramatic super-over to fire the hosts to a stunning win over New Zealand in the final at Lord’s.

And with much hype already surrounding his inclusion, Archer said it was important to remain grounded and keep expectations realistic.

“Don’t expect any miracles,” he warned. “Hopefully I’m going to make my debut sooner rather than later and I’ll come in and do what I can.

“I can’t work miracles – I’ll try to but I don’t think that’s how it might pan out. I’ll try my best and I can only give my best.”

One of Archer’s key assets has been his pace, consistently bowling at well in excess of 90 miles per hour throughout his career.

He proved a handful during the World Cup, rattling batsmen with raw pace. During the semi-final against Australia, he left Alex Carey bloodied after striking him a blow to the chin with a short delivery.

“You don’t always set out to hit the batter. It could be a wicket-taking ball and a dot ball as well,” Archer explained.

“If it hits them, with the concussion [rules] now, you don’t want to cause someone to miss a few games or be out for a few weeks. Equally, it is good to know you are quick enough for people to fear you a bit.

“Pace makes batters do funny things. It may make him play a shot he is not accustomed to. He may be a bit late on the ball so if you have the batter overthinking then you are in a good place.”

Born and raised in Barbados, Archer represented West Indies Under-19s when Bangladesh Under-19s toured the Caribbean in 2013 but failed to make the squad for the ICC Under-19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates the following year.

The holder of a British passport through his father, Archer then focussed his efforts on turning out for England.

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