England captain Joe Root has hailed Jofra Archer has a “fast learner” and has backed the Barbadian speedster to rebound quickly from a chastening tour of New Zealand where he managed just two wickets in as many Tests.
The 24-year-old entered the series with a high reputation following his fireworks during the Ashes – in which he made his Test debut – and the preceding ICC World Cup, but struggled to generate any pace or movement on flat wickets and with an unfamiliar Kookaburra ball.
“I think he’s found that Test cricket is hard, and you’ve got to keep backing up those performances over and over again. You can sometimes bowl extremely well and get no reward,” Root said following the drawn second Test which saw England lose the series 1-0.
“And he’s young. He’s right at the start of his career, and as I said at the start of the trip, there are big expectations on him. He’s still got a lot of learning to do, but one thing I know for sure is that he’s a fantastic talent and there’s no doubt he’s going to contribute massively for England in Test cricket.”
Archer was the find of the Ashes series, snatching 22 wickets an average of 20.27, even though England failed to get the better of the Australians.
He bowled with astonishing pace at times, hitting marquee batsman Steve Smith on the head in the Lord’s second Test and putting him out of the third Test at Headingley.
But in 82 overs in the New Zealand series, Archer hardly threatened, and Root said learning from the experience would be key.
“He has to keep wanting to learn, and to stay nice and resilient mentally and physically as well, because these conditions can wear you down,” Root explained.
“I expect him to bounce back quite strongly from something like this, because he’s a fast learner. He’s proven that when he’s played domestic cricket around the world, in all these big franchise tournaments. Hopefully, we’ll see see him back at his best soon.”
Archer was born and raised in Barbados, and played a handful of matches for West Indies Under-19s back in 2013.
The holder of a British passport through his father, he subsequently moved to England to ply his trade and this year qualified to represent his adopted country.