England fast bowler Jofra Archer has used a newspaper column to attack a former skipper who questioned his commitment.
Archer missed the second and fourth Test matches of the recent series in India, and claimed four wickets at an average of 30.50 in the two matches he did play, an almost identical average to that of fellow fast-bowler Ben Stokes.
Having bowled just five overs in the third Test before missing the last match with an elbow injury, Archer’s desire to play five-day cricket was under scrutiny.
“A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response,” Archer wrote in the Daily Mail.
“Let me be clear about something: I’ve never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I’ve always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn’t changed, and never will as far as I’m concerned.
“I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don’t feel I’ve had a bad game so far – yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what’s going on.”
Archer singled out Vaughan, noting he’d never had an in-depth conversation with the former skipper.
The fact that Archer is available for the T20 series, which begins tomorrow in Ahmedabad, just a week after missing a Test match, has many questioning his priorities.
“Comments like ‘he’s not committed’ or ‘he’s not good enough’ appear as soon as you are not 110 per cent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions,” he said.
“I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: ‘If Jofra doesn’t love Test cricket, England need to find out why.’ We’ve never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn’t know what makes me tick. He doesn’t know what’s driving me.”
Archer made an immediate impact on his Test debut at Lord’s in 2019, hitting Australia’s Steve Smith a sickening blow to the side of the head, that caused Smith to miss the next match as he recovered from concussion.
But after bursting onto the scene two years ago, he’s only managed 42 wickets from 13 Tests, at an average of 31.04.
Many feel that’s not a fair reflection of his talents.
“Everyone must start somewhere, and I am still relatively new to Test cricket,” Archer wrote. “I am making my way, much the same as … (James) Anderson and (Stuart) Broad, once did. And I am happy with a bowling average of 31 so far because I can get better.
“The beauty of where those two are in their careers, with so many wickets to their names, is that they get the benefit of the doubt if they have a quiet match of only one or two wickets.
“People will argue, quite rightly, that they have got to where they are for a reason and will come back strongly, whereas I don’t feel there is the same understanding given or faith placed in others.
“Part of being a bowler is accepting there will be games when you don’t enjoy as much success as you would like but you must tick them off, and when the conditions are right for you to take your big haul, use them.”
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