The West Indies Cricket Team are in England preparing to face that team in the first of three Test matches, which is to be played on July 8; and there has certainly been a lot of talk about England quick Jofra Archer and the way things will play out against the West Indies, especially since he comes from Barbados.
The 25-year-old Archer has to date played seven Test matches for England, and has impressed with 30 wickets.
During the Ashes series, when England opposed the mighty Australia, Archer made an “announcement” by picking up wickets and scaring some world-class batsmen. At one point, when the world’s best Test batsman, Steven Smith, was unstoppable, it was Archer who threw ‘a knockout punch’ and forced Smith to retire. The Aussies had certainly encountered nightmares of Archer in a full Test series.
Here come the West Indies in England, with Bajan boys flooding the squad; and Archer will certainly want to extend his dominance from that Ashes series. His genuine pace and high skill have been admirable, and with most of the West Indies touring party being players from Barbados, “the Archer contest” will be a gem of a battle.
West Indies’ premier seamer, Barbadian Kemar Roach, had earlier indicated that the West Indies players would not be extending any overtures of friendship towards pace sensation Archer.
Batsman Roston Chase is eager to perform well against this right-arm quick. Five years ago, he had faced a fiery 20-year-old Archer in a club game in Sussex when he had turned out for Cockfield in the Sussex Premier League in a game against Middleton-on-Sea. He was trapped lbw off the first ball Archer had sent down.
“I knew Jofra [before]. I did play against him in the league in Barbados. He was quite young though, playing for the Barbados school team. He was always a good talent, but he was not always that fast. He had some pace, but he wasn’t as rapid as he is now,” Chase has said.
West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick also noted that Archer is a fine talent, but said Archer has made his choice to play for England.
The Archer topic was often thrown in for discussion throughout the virtual press conferences that featured West Indies players and coaching staffers. Besides Roach, Chase and Estwick, another Bajan boy, Shane Dowrich, also shared some sentiments on Archer.
Asked if he would have liked to have Archer in his line-up, Dowrich said he is happy with the West Indies’ pace attack, and that Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach are among the finest bowlers in Test cricket currently.
Born in Barbados to an English father and Bajan mother, Archer had thrice played for the West Indies U-19 Team before moving to England. In the year 2013, Archer played for West Indies U-19, but suffered a back injury. In that batch of U-19 players were Shimron Hetmyer, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Ramaal Lewis, Alzarri Joseph, Fabian Allen and Gudakesh Motie.
Archer then went to England and secured a contract from Sussex. In his first-class debut in 2016 against Pakistan, he took four wickets. In his limited overs debut, he struck 72 in batting at number eight against Essex, thereby announcing himself as a complete player.
Playing in seven Test matches, Archer took 30 Test wickets at an average of 27.40. He has three five-wicket hauls, with a best bowling figure of 6-45. He also took 6-62 against Australia in the Ashes. In only 36 first-class matches, Archer claimed 166 wickets, with eight five-wicket hauls