‘Justin Langer has another thing coming’: Jofra Archer dismisses doubts over his lack of Test experience as cricket’s new superstar prepares to carry England’s Ashes hopes at Lord’s
- World Cup hero Jofra Archer has replaced James Anderson in the England team
- The fast bowler is poised to make his Test match debut at Lord’s this week
- Archer believes he has the style and endurance to excel in the five-day game
- The Sussex star has vowed to stick to his strengths during the second Ashes Test
- Australia coach Justin Langer dismissed the threat of Archer on Monday
Jofra Archer smiled but there was no doubting the menace behind the message of a Test debutant happy to shoulder the burden of Ashes expectations.
‘I’m more ready than I’ve ever been,’ said the man who bowled England to World Cup glory. ‘I’ve bowled 50 overs in one game for Sussex already and I’m usually the one bowling the most overs. Justin Langer has another thing coming.’
It was a combative response, albeit amiably delivered, to the Australian coach’s pledge that his batsmen would wear Archer down in a second Test starting on Wednesday at Lord’s that England cannot afford to lose. For good measure, cricket’s new superstar repeated the words when he spoke to the BBC, just in case anyone missed what he said.
Jofra Archer has issued a warning to Australia ahead of his Ashes debut on Wednesday
Clearly, little fazes a 24-year-old who has already made an indelible mark on cricket history with that seismic super over and is back at Lord’s tasked with riding to England’s Ashes rescue after their Edgbaston fortress came crashing down.
Not even the words of an Australia coach who on Monday made what appeared a valid point that Archer has had little red-ball cricket in the last year and might find it difficult to maintain his pace and hostility the longer he is forced to bowl.
‘I’m curious to see how he goes,’ said Langer. ‘He’s obviously got a great temperament and he’s an incredible athlete but he hasn’t played much red-ball cricket. Test cricket is very different from white-ball cricket. It will be the same as everyone — we will try to get him into his second, third and fourth spells.’
Justin Langer said he was confident his batsmen can handle England new boy Jofra Archer
It was Jason Gillespie who told Sportsmail ahead of the World Cup that the first-class game was Archer’s strength and Jofra echoed his Sussex coach. ‘I have played more red-ball cricket than white-ball,’ insisted Archer.
‘It’s my preferred format. You get more chances to redeem yourself. In the one-day game if you don’t have a good 10 overs that’s it.’
Archer’s white-ball expertise has been exposed to the world. Less so the 28 first-class appearances that brought him 131 red-ball wickets.
‘It was actually the first format I played regularly for Sussex,’ said Archer. ‘It was a bit hard to get into the white-ball team! Red-ball isn’t really shown on TV so people won’t know about me. And if you just look at the scorecard it doesn’t always tell the full story of how the game panned out.’
The second Test will certainly be seen by a wider audience. Archer insists he was fully over the side problem that supposedly hindered him in the World Cup ahead of Edgbaston, but England did not want to risk both him and Jimmy Anderson so soon after injury. Their caution rebounded when Anderson broke down after four overs.
Archer bowls during the England nets session at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Monday morning
‘What I would say is don’t expect miracles,’ said Archer, smiling again, having emphasised his fitness with a superlative display for Sussex 2nd XI against Gloucestershire last week. ‘If I make my debut I’ll come out and do what I can. I can’t work miracles. I can only give my best.’
It would be something of a cricketing miracle if Archer is able to dismiss double first Test centurion Steve Smith cheaply.
‘He played really well at Edgbaston,’ said Archer, who got on ‘quite well’ with Smith when they were IPL team-mates at Rajasthan Royals. ‘Hopefully I get one to do a bit more down the slope and get him out for 90 runs less than at Edgbaston.’
The Test debutant is more than happy to shoulder the burden of Ashes expectations
It seems far from certain Australia will bring back Mitchell Starc even though he has an outstanding record at Lord’s. Starc and Josh Hazlewood are pushing for inclusion and it remains to be seen whether they rest James Pattinson or leave out workhorse Peter Siddle.
The one bowler England made plans for during practice on Monday was the last-day match-winner at Edgbaston, Nathan Lyon. Essex’s prolific South African off-spinner Simon Harmer was invited to nets to replicate Lyon. But it is smiling assassin Archer who, England hope, can do to Australia what he did to New Zealand in the World Cup final.
‘It looked different when I came back today,’ added Archer. ‘All the World Cup boards have been taken down. It just looked normal again. But it was nice to come back.’
England will hope this far from normal cricketer will be smiling again at Lord’s on Sunday, just as he was last time he was here.
LOOKS LIKE SAM’S BACK
England were on Monday night considering a second-Test surprise and throwing Sam Curran into the Ashes fray at the expense of Joe Denly.
The plan would mean Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow being promoted in the order to accommodate the left-arm swing bowler and lower middle-order batsman, who made such an impact at home to India last summer.
England planned to back Denly to justify the faith of national selector Ed Smith that he can succeed in his best position of No 4. But the scale of England’s first Test defeat has forced a rethink.
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