Clough would have left him to sweat on whether he would be picked again
If it was Brian Clough in charge of England, he would have told Jofra Archer: “If it is so important for you to go home between Test matches, you can go home now and stay there.” He would leave him to sweat on whether the manager would select him again. Jofra would get the message. You mess with Mr Clough and you could be out for good.
As a former player with Middlesbrough and Sunderland, Clough understood the mentality of young players, so when he took over as manager at Derby County he had the whole squad stay the night before a match at the local Midland Hotel.
After dinner together, he had his staff stand guard on all the entrances and exits to the hotel. When some of his youngsters tried to go out on the town drinking and chasing girls they were sent back with a flea in their ear. You can only treat people like grown-ups if they act in a grown-up way and do not let you down. If they think rules and responsibility do not apply to them, then treat them like children and have them supervised at all times, or the ultimate sanction is not to select them. That would send a message to the rest of the squad.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has to accept some responsibility by allowing the players out of their sight to drive from Southampton to Manchester on their own. For many hours the ECB would have had no idea where they were or what they were doing. The players were out of sight and out of their control – amateur organisation. The West Indies squad travelled on two buses.
There have been previous incidents of players letting themselves down, their colleagues
Hopefully, nobody will have suffered by his stupidity but he could have put the English game at risk
and English cricket – Jonny Bairstow in a Perth bar, and Ben Duckett was sent home from Australia for pouring a pint of beer over James Anderson. Alex Hales was suspended for failing a drugs test – and the biggest one of all was our best cricketer, Ben Stokes, after the incident in Bristol.
Our government has allowed international cricket to be played under strict quarantine rules and if it ever feels that the ECB cannot control its players and any player puts other people at risk, it could easily stop cricket being played. Hopefully, nobody will have suffered by Archer’s stupidity, but he could have put English cricket at risk.
As for matters on the field, bowlers have to take wickets, batsmen have to make runs. You do not win Test matches by looking pretty. You win Test matches by the weight of runs and the ability to take wickets. Our problem for a long time has been, can we make enough runs?
I am really pleased for Dom Sibley. It is about how many runs you make, not how many balls or how many boundaries. Runs are all that matters.