Friday, June 14, 2024

Fit-again Jofra Archer’s ‘extra pace and fear factor’ set to boost England

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England are eager to unleash Jofra Archer’s “fear factor” against Pakistan as the seamer prepares for his first home appearance in almost four years.

A stress fracture of the back has kept the 29-year-old out of international cricket for 14 months but it is even longer since he last represented his country on English soil – in an ODI against Australia in September 2020.

Archer turned out for Sussex’s second XI last week, tuning up with a lively six-over spell at Beckenham, and rejoined Jos Buttler’s side in the Headingley nets ahead of Wednesday’s T20 series opener.

He is pencilled in to play in that match in Leeds as England work him back into their attack ahead of taking what they hope will be a prominent role at next month’s T20 World Cup.

Sam Curran is happy to have Jofra Archer back in business after injury problems (Danny Lawson/PA)

All-rounder Sam Curran is delighted to welcome back a player who has the pace and prowess to raise the bowling threat to another level.

“It’s incredibly exciting to have a player of his quality. I’m sure England fans and players are extremely buzzed to have him back,” he said.

“He’s obviously got that extra pace and fear factor we can bring to opposition. We all hope his injuries are behind him now. Jof’s had a really tough couple of years, we all hope he can come back and do what he does for England and bring the A game that we know he’s got.”

England head coach Matthew Mott was not at training on Monday due to family reasons, leaving assistant Richard Dawson in charge of a group that continues to include former Test captain Andrew Flintoff.

Mott is expected to be back with the group ahead of the opening match as he and captain Buttler look to steer the ship back on course following a dire 50-over World Cup defence over the winter.

Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff is part of the England backroom staff again this summer (Danny Lawson/PA)

England brought their first-choice squad together at the last possible moment ahead of that tournament, in part due to a compressed and conflicting fixture list during an Ashes summer.

In a bid to avoid making the same mistake again, the England and Wales Cricket Board directed all of its Indian Premier League players to leave the tournament before the knockouts and come together for the warm-up series against Pakistan.

The franchises, and their millions of followers, might have been frustrated by the last-minute talent drain but one that allows England the greatest chance of finding some cohesion before they arrive in Barbados.

“That’s the main reason we all came back,” said Curran, one of eight squad members who had IPL deals following his stint with Punjab Kings.

“The messaging from Jos and the coaching staff was they wanted to get the group back together and we probably didn’t have that last time. We’ve been apart for a while so these games are going to be really crucial. We want to be playing as a team and get used to our roles.

“There’s a lot of buzz around the group, it seems like we’re back to our energy and it seems like the boys are really fizzed about this trophy hopefully coming back.”

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