JOFRA ARCHER: I can’t bowl 90mph Ashes spells all the time… it’s unrealistic for England fans to expect that from me
- England claimed a stunning comeback victory in the first Pakistan Test
- A 139-run stand between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes helped chase down 277
- Jofra Archer took four wickets for 86 runs over the course of the match
- Paceman feels his performance in Manchester was all right in the conditions
- He says everything has together for him to bowl consistently in the 90s
Selection is up to the management, of course, but I truly feel any line-up of seamers we put out for the second Test against Pakistan in Southampton on Thursday are going to do the job.
All four of us have played three of the four Tests this summer, so anyone could get a rotation about now — but whoever comes in or moves out, we have bowlers with the versatility to cover.
I feel I could do a job with the new ball if required, although I could never demand it in a team in which we have two guys with 500-plus Test wickets in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Jofra Archer bowls during England’s first Test against Pakistan in Manchester
Everyone is pretty much an opening bowler for their county, so asking them to adapt to that role in a Test will not be a shock. Equally, when I first played for Sussex I did not see the ball until 15 overs in, so I have probably gone back to where I started, to be honest.
My performance in Manchester was all right. I went at two runs per over for large spells and took four wickets. If you were offered four wickets before every game, you would take it. Looking at the scorecard, four wickets was a decent return for a pacer.
Of course, as an international cricketer your performances get analysed, although unfortunately the analysis doesn’t always account for what you have to go through as a fast bowler.
Take Jimmy Anderson as an example. I reckon he bowled around 40 balls that could have taken wickets in the match. But they were missed by the batsmen, and that is just how cricket is.
Archerwasn’t bowling his fastest but still took four wickets during the Test match
Watch next week, if he plays. He takes five-for and those same people judging so harshly are quiet. Or they will be asking what he did to overturn his luck. I would suggest he won’t do much different.
I cannot get away from the fact there is always attention towards the pace I am producing.
From my perspective, I know I can bowl one or two 90mph deliveries a spell even when not everything is clicking, but to do it every ball, everything has to be working perfectly in unison and you have to be in that perfect, competitive mind frame.
Not everything comes together all the time.
People look back at my debut performance in the Ashes Test at Lord’s last year and expect that kind of display everywhere, but it is unrealistic.
I wish there was more appreciation for what fast bowlers have to go through. There was excitement at the way I bowled against Australia, but no credit when I sent down 42 overs in an innings against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui.
Pakistan’s Naseem Shah is cleaned bowled by Archer during day four at Old Trafford
I can’t remember the last time I saw a paceman bowl more than 40 overs in an innings.
People will judge you how they want and there are a lot of opinions out there. But I am a 25-year-old fast bowler trying to develop my game and the opinions that matter most to me are the ones of my team-mates.
As long as Joe Root and my England team-mates are fine, I really don’t care what other people are thinking.
Sure, they can criticise my pace but this is the first set of cricket matches we have played since I got injured last winter.
It can take some players longer than others to find their feet again and as long as the people in and around this circle are understanding — and it 100 per cent seems like they are — I am very happy and in a good head space.
Archer celebrates with captain Joe Root the dismissal of Pakistan’s Mohammad Abbas
WE CAN WIN THE SERIES 3-0
There has been a bit of focus on this England team not being able to start series well and I hope we continue with the momentum we have got now courtesy of the three-wicket win over Pakistan.
Against West Indies, we lost the first one and had to fight back hard, so I hope all the guys remain this focused. If that’s the case, there is no reason we shouldn’t go on and win 3-0.
Momentum is important in cricket and, looking back at last year’s World Cup, we started to peak at the right time.
Developing it has a lot to do with confidence and I remember from the group game against New Zealand I felt nobody could beat us from there.
From the moment we absolutely had to win, matches against India and Australia included, I knew we were going to go the whole way.
STOKES IS A BIG LOSS
We now have to complete the job without Ben Stokes. He is someone we would miss even if he was unable to bowl or hit a ball. He has such an impact in the changing room beyond what he does in the middle.
When I was in quarantine in Manchester, he would come past my hotel room each night after play — as did Joe Root — knock on the door and check on me. He cares about those around him.
If you are going into battle, Stokes is the person you want right next to you. He would never run away from a challenge, but family is so important and he has to be in New Zealand right now. We all understand that, support him and hope things settle quickly and he can come back when he is ready.
We owe it to him to cover for his loss. Of course, any team in the world would find it hard to replace a player of his magnitude and yet I feel we will be fine because someone will step up, as Jos and Woakesy did over the weekend.
I can promise you that.
WE HAVE THE TALENT TO PULL OF MORE MIRACLES
Moments like we experienced on Saturday evening are what you play for. When Pakistan opened up a first-innings lead of 107 runs, all the guys responded.
We realised the situation we were in and that if we wanted to win then that third innings had to be the best of the whole game for us to make it possible. We adapted well.
From my perspective, we have enough talent in this side to win games like that more often than not. We have to keep winning games from positions some would say are out of nowhere, so that eventually we will not be written off when we are chasing targets of 250 runs or more for victory.
It was portrayed as a miracle that we won, but we need to keep doing it so that it won’t feel like a miracle in future, it will be expected.
Jos Buttler (right) Chris Woakes celebrate in the England dressing room after their victory
Yes, we were under pressure from the get-go. We know Pakistan have a quality bowling attack and that they were going to challenge us, but Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes played extremely well. Jos said later he felt under pressure and Woakesy hadn’t got many runs for a while, but Mother Cricket is a funny game.
As a bowler you might bowl well and get nothing, but on another day end up with a dodgy five-for.
When you put the work in, the rewards will come and both of them stepped up at the exact time the team needed them. Next time, it might be someone else’s turn. Who knows? That’s why I love the sport. It’s so unpredictable.
Buttler and Woakes are high-quality players and at some point they were going to do something like they did at Old Trafford.
Every single player in our team is a match-winner.
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