Archer plays down his own tal­ent, says Root

Evening Times - - LAST WORD -

JOFRA ARCHER may be one of the hottest com­modi­ties in cricket af­ter an as­ton­ish­ing sum­mer but Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root be­lieves the pace­man un­der­rates his own tal­ent.

Barely six months have passed since Archer made his Eng­land de­but but his abil­ity to reg­u­larly ex­ceed 90mph and a wicked bouncer are just two of his tools that can po­ten­tially un­lock any bat­ting line-up.

That the­ory may be tested when Eng­land take on New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Mount Maun­ganui, which is host­ing its first Test and is ex­pected to pro­vide a bats­man­friendly sur­face.

Root has, there­fore, chal­lenged a bowler set to play in only his fifth Test and first over­seas to take his fo­cus away from the lat­eral move­ment he en­joyed in Eng­land and in­stead con­cen­trate on what makes him spe­cial.

“Jofra adds some­thing slightly dif­fer­ent to what we had pre­vi­ously,” Root said. “Out-and­out pace so that when it isn’t do­ing any­thing you feel still like you’re in the game and you can cre­ate chances.

“Know­ing Jofra, he wants to see the ball mov­ing side­ways. But one thing he un­der­es­ti­mates is his own tal­ent some­times and that pace through the air can be a quite a big skill in its own.

“To be able to bowl at that pace for a pe­riod of time is a skill in it­self and I think he needs to un­der­stand that.”

This two-match se­ries which starts to­mor­row is not part of the World Test Cham­pi­onship but Root in­sists that does not cheapen the spec­ta­cle, say­ing it can be used as an op­por­tu­nity to pros­per in sit­u­a­tions they may en­counter in fu­ture.

He said: “Be­fore Au­gust none of the Tests were for the cham­pi­onship, and they all seemed to mean some­thing.

“One thing it is, is a chance to grow in th­ese con­di­tions on maybe some flat­ter wick­ets ahead of South Africa and maybe Aus­tralia down the line.”

Eng­land’s last visit to New Zealand last year saw them rolled out for a hu­mil­i­at­ing 58 be­fore a classy cen­tury from Black Caps cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson ul­ti­mately helped the Ki­wis to a se­ries win.

The teams en­joy a friendly ri­valry but, when asked if that takes the edge off, Root re­sponded: “No, we’re play­ing Test cricket.

“That in it­self trumps ev­ery­thing else.”

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