England paceman Jofra Archer insists he is ready to rise to the challenge of Test cricket and warned Australia coach Justin Langer “has another thing coming” if he thinks otherwise.
Archer is set to make his Test debut at Lord’s in the second match of the Ashes on Wednesday, the same venue where he played a starring role in the World Cup final a month ago.
While Archer’s skills in the limited-overs arena have been proven on the highest stage of all, his last first-class appearance came in September 2018 and a productive outing for Sussex’s second XI last week represents his only match in whites this season.
Langer has said Australia’s plan for Archer is to “keep wearing him down, get him back into his second or third or fourth spells” but the man himself believes the opposition are barking up the wrong tree.
“I’m probably more ready than I’ve ever been. I think Justin Langer has another thing coming,” he responded.
“I’ve played a lot more red ball than I have white ball. I do think it’s my preferred format anyway. I personally believe in Test cricket you get a lot more opportunities to redeem yourself.
“It was actually the first format I played in when I started at Sussex. If it’s 50 overs, when you don’t have a good 10-overs, that’s it. You’ve got to wait till the next game. You have ample chances to do it in a red-ball game.”
While the 24-year-old is clearly confident in his own ability to help England strike back from 1-0 down in the series, he also moved to dial down expectations.
After record wicket-taker James Anderson was ruled out with a calf problem, much will be asked of Archer at Lord’s but he does not expect things to come easy.
“What I would say firstly is don’t expect any miracles!” he said.
“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.”
Langer earlier reflected on the rigours of five-day cricket and will be an interested onlooker as Archer seeks to prove his credentials.
“We’ve seen what a good cricketer he is, we respect him. But like everyone I’m really curious to see how he goes in red-ball cricket,” the Australian said.
“Hopefully our guys have got the answers for whatever he’s got to dish up to us. The question is have you got the mental toughness and the physical endurance to play well in Test cricket.
“That’s not just for him it’s for the 22 guys out there, those same questions are asked.”
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Australia coach Justin Langer has revealed that his side plan on wearing down Jofra Archer in the second Ashes Test against England which gets underway at Lord’s on Wednesday.
While England pace spearhead James Anderson is sidelined with a calf injury, Archer is set to make his long-awaited Test debut at Lord’s after being named in the 12-man squad.
The Barbados-born pacer’s impact in international cricket has been instant ever since he became eligible to represent England earlier this year and he was one of the stars of the side’s maiden World Cup win with a total of 20 wickets over the course of the campaign.
Langer, however, feels that Test cricket will be a whole different ball-game for Archer who has already established himself as one of the most fearsome limited-overs’ bowler in the world.
“I’m really curious about how Archer is going to go,” Langer was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“He’s a very skilled bowler and a great athlete, but Test cricket is very different to white-ball cricket.
"Test cricket is very different for him..."— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 12, 2019
Justin Langer is looking forward to his Australia side taking on Jofra Archer in #TheAshes this week
More: https://t.co/Ht7dBOZyEY pic.twitter.com/EK006L9f1q
“Like we’ve talked about a long time, we’ve got to keep wearing them (England’s bowlers) down and get him back into his second or third and fourth spells.”
Australia lead the Ashes series 1-0 after their 251-run win over the hosts in England and will be hoping to take another step towards retaining the urn when they take the field at Lord’s on Wednesday.
Having examined the Lord’s pitch from close quarters, Langer is wary that the surface for the second Test could be a dry one.
“The wicket is really interesting, it looks like it’s going to be a really flat wicket to me,” Langer said.
“It’s quite dry though. It’s not a surprise … the wicket is the last thing you look at when you come to Lord’s. Most grounds it’s the first thing to look at but here, there’s so much else to admire and love about being here.
“But whether it’s a green-top or a dry wicket, we have really good options and that’s nice as a coach and selector. One thing we have got is the luxury of six fast bowlers, they’re all high-class bowlers and we’ll work out what’s going to be best for this Test match, and best for the whole series.”
Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes that Shreyas Iyer should be batting at the No4 spot for the Men in Blue rather than Rishabh Pant and has called for the right-hander to be made a permanent fixture in the middle-order.
Iyer scored a vital 68-ball 71 for India while batting at No5 in the second ODI against West Indies on Sunday after Pant was dismissed for a 35-ball 20 after coming in at number four.
It was Iyer’s first ODI knock for India in more than 18 months and the 24-year-old grabbed his chance with both hands by forging a match-winning 125-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli.
“In my view, Rishabh Pant is much better like an MS Dhoni at 5 for 6 as a finisher because that’s where his natural game and natural flair will come into play,” Gavaskar told broadcaster Sony Sports.
“If India get to a great start with Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma batting for 40-45 overs, then Pant at No. 4. But if it’s a question of batting for 30-35 overs, then I think it should be Shreyas Iyer at No. 4 and Pant at No. 5,” the India legend added.
Pant’s mature display in India’s 59-run win over the Windies came in for some special praise from Kohli after the game.
Young Shreyas Iyer had a point to prove and has done it in style. Walked out with team in spot of bother but showed calm nerves and high quality strokes to put India in strong position along with Kohli— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) August 11, 2019
“Brilliant,” the India skipper replied when asked to give his verdict on Iyer’s display.
“Stepping in, not having played many games in the past, but I think he’s a very confident guy, he’s got the right attitude, and his body language was brilliant.
“Beautiful hands on the ball, and really kept the tempo going, took a lot of pressure off me, so I could play myself into a tempo like I like doing, and after I got out he got those extra runs for us as well. Really good start for him, hopefully he gets another one.”
India’s struggles in the middle-order batting positions have been a longstanding issue with No4 spot in particular being a sticking point. Kohli and the team management will now hope that Iyer can continue to build on the promise he has shown and cement a spot in India’s middle-order.