Joe Root knows England have “something special” on their hands in Jofra Archer but has already started the job of managing expectations around the breakout star of the summer.
Four months on from his international debut, Archer has already played a starring role in England’s historic World Cup win, leading the team’s wicket charts and bowling the decisive super over in the Lord’s final, and excelled in the pressure cooker of the Ashes.
He picked up 22 Australian scalps in four Tests at an average of 20.27 and was responsible for some hair-raising spells of fast bowling.
The 24-year-old drew a blank on his final day of the series, when England’s 135-run win at The Oval squared the score at 2-2, but his fiery battle with centurion Matthew Wade in the afternoon was arguably the highlight of the contest.
Not for the first time in his short Test career Archer cranked the speed gun past 95mph and whipped the crowd into a frenzy as he peppered the batsmen with short balls.
He is a box office talent and one that leaves Root battling conflicting instincts: as a cricket lover he is plainly enthused, as a skipper he is understandably protective.
“When I faced him in the nets against the red ball it was pretty clear he’d be something special,” said Root.
“He’s come in and been fantastic. He has a way of having a huge impact on the game. His spell here… you saw the way he changed the whole atmosphere at the ground.
“For someone right at the beginning of their career to have such a gift, it’s great to be able to captain that and I very much look forward to the rest of his journey.
“But we’ve got to be careful not to expect too much of him, he’s a young guy. He’s still learning and I’m still learning how to get the best out of him as a captain.”
Root was particularly keen to warn against burdening Archer with the expectation of bowling at electric pace every time he takes the field. He has varied his speeds depending on conditions and is as happy probing for outside edges as whistling the ball past helmets.
To see him at full tilt is a thrilling sight, but not one Root expects him to produce on demand.
“At times he might not always bowl at 90mph, but he will still go at 2.5 an over and create chances,” said Root.
“Making sure we don’t expect him to average 12 over the next two-and-a-half years is important, but knowing he’s got that ability to turn a game on his own is exciting.
“One thing we can expect is he’s going entertain and he’s going to make things happen.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
Australia coach Justin Langer has expressed doubt about David Warner’s ability to rediscover top form after the batsman was terrorised by Stuart Broad during a torturous Ashes campaign.
Warner endured a miserable time in England and ended with the unwanted record of the fewest runs scored by a Test opener across 10 innings of a series.
The 32-year-old, who registered a cumulative total of just 95, was dismissed seven times by Broad during the drawn contest and encountered constant jeers from home crowds following his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.
Former batsman Langer feels Warner allowed England bowler Broad to “get into his head” but plans to persist with him heading into the Australian summer.
Despite backing his player for the time being, the 48-year-old coach is uncertain that he will fully recover from a dismal Ashes display.
“I’ve learned over a long period you never write off champion players, it doesn’t matter what sport, you never write off champion players,” said Langer, whose side retained the urn following the 2-2 draw.
“They tend to come good, don’t they? So he’s had a tough series, no doubt about that, but he’s also a champion player so usually with champion players they get a bit more time to come good.
“He had this series, it didn’t go to plan, but he’s seen how successful he’s been and the impact he can have on Australian cricket teams winning, so I’m confident he’ll come good.
“Actually, I’m hopeful he comes good. Talking frankly, I thought he let Stuart Broad get into his head and I think he thought way too much about it.”
Warner’s struggles included arriving for the final Test at The Oval, which England won to secure a 2-2 draw and deny Australia a first success on these shores since 2001, on the back of three successive ducks.
That prompted a handful of playful England fans to turn up to the south London ground wearing duck costumes with his name on the back.
Prior to Warner’s persistently paltry efforts, New Zealand’s John D’Arcy held the worst return for an opener across 10 innings of a series, scoring 136 against England in 1958.
Langer feels Warner, who was the second-highest run scorer at the World Cup, will be pleased to see the back of Broad and relieved to be returning home.
“I used to have lean runs all the time but even great players have lean runs and I’m sure David – we know he’s a very good player, there’s no question about that – but he had it tough, particularly against Stuart Broad,” continued Langer.
“I used to have it against Murali (Sri Lankan, Muttiah Muralitharan) and I couldn’t solve the issue and it’s so hard when you’re trying to problem-solve and then you’re in the middle of a big series trying to solve the puzzle.
“In this instance I don’t think David solved the puzzle, and he’ll be the first to admit that.
“He’ll probably be very relieved (when) he gets on the Qantas flight knowing he doesn’t have to face Stuart Broad for a while, I reckon.”
Meanwhile, Langer was receptive to the idea of outgoing England coach Trevor Bayliss performing a future role for Australia.
Bayliss, 56, has expressed interest in working for his native country in some capacity following the end of his four-year reign with England.
“Trevor Bayliss, from a personal point of view and as a mentor, I’m sure I can learn a lot from TB, if he’s open to it,” said Langer.
“He’s a seasoned campaigner, he’s an Australian. I know he’s done a great job for England but I know he loves Australia as well, so who knows what could happen there.”
Provided by Press Association Sports
India head coach Ravi Shastri has warned Rishabh Pant that he must improve his shot selection following some highly erratic displays from the young wicketkeeper batsman in the Caribbean.
Pant was dismissed twice for a golden duck on the tour of West Indies with the second of them coming in the third ODI at the Port of Spain. On that occasion, the left-handed batsman had charged down the track to Fabian Allen in his very first delivery before lofting the ball straight into the hands of the mid-off fielder.
Shastri has now made it clear that the 21-year-old needs to take more responsibility for his shot selection and has urged him to take the team’s greater interests in mind.
“When you see a shot like the one in Trinidad off the first ball, (its disappointing), “ Shastri told broadcaster Star Sports in a recent interview.
“He tries to repeat it a couple of times and gets out, he will be told.
“There will be a rap on the knuckles there – talent or no talent – because you are letting the team down, forget letting yourself down.”
Pant’s start to his Test career has been an immense one with the youngster becoming the first Indian wicketkeeper to register tons in England as well as Australia. However, consistency has eluded him in the limited-overs formats in particular with his average in ODIs and T20s currently standing at 22.90 and 21.57.
Shastri is hesitant to change the left-hander’s attacking style with the bat but want him to show greater match awareness.
“No one will change his style but match awareness becomes crucial, shot selection becomes crucial in particular situations,” he stated.
“If he can fathom that out, he could be unstoppable. You mentioned how many games it would take, it could be one game, it could be four games. I don’t see more than that. He will learn.
“He has played enough IPL cricket. So, it’s time now for him to step on to the stage and just show the world how devastating he is.”
Shastri’s views were on Pant were echoed by India skipper Virat Kohli.
“Expectations (from Pant) are only of reading situations. You don’t expect a guy to play according to what you might be thinking,” Kohli said.
“It’s about analysing the situation and finding your own way of dealing with the situation. Someone like Rishabh might hit five boundaries in a difficult situation compared to me who likes to take ones and twos and get out of it.
“So, everyone has their own game. But reading the situation and decision-making is the expectation from all the players, including Rishabh.”
Kohli and Shastri will now hope that the youngster can show better application in the ongoing three-match T20 series between India and South Africa. The first clash between the two sides at Dharamsala on Sunday was washed out without a ball being bowled while the second T20 is slated to take place in Mohali on Wednesday.