JOFRA UN­LEASHED

Fast-bowl­ing sen­sa­tion Archer opens up to Nasser Hus­sain on his life-chang­ing sum­mer

Scottish Daily Mail - - Cricket -

I got grief for the way I smiled after hit­ting him but I was just re­act­ing to an ear­lier Jos joke

HE IS Eng­land’s hottest prop­erty, and as Jofra Archer ar­rived in Auck­land ahead of next week’s Test se­ries against New Zealand, Nasser Hus­sain was there to meet him.

NASSER of months HUS­SAIN: after the Jofra, sum­mer a cou­ple that changed how well your things life, went? can you be­lieve JOFRA but I can’t

ARCHER: re­ally say I can I ex­pected be­lieve it, it. It’s crick­eter okay but to when be a you good make county the step ca­reer up, might you never go. You know might how have your one you bad were game never and re­ally every­one worth thinks the pick. bowl­ing Here with in a New red Zealand Kook­aburra I’ll be — I’d weeks never ago. even It’s seen been one chal­leng­ing un­til a few at times chal­lenges. and I’m I very wel­come grate­ful. those

NH: Some peo­ple think they have to looks fit as in, if but you’ve from not the re­ally out­side had to it change your ways. You bowl left-arm spin dur­ing the warm-ups and have snoozes in the dress­ing room. Have you al­ways been that re­laxed?

JA: Yeah, you don’t need to change. Eoin Mor­gan and Joe Root have a re­ally calm and open chang­ing room. There’s no ten­sion there. You don’t have to be walk­ing on egg shells around any of the play­ers. It’s pretty hard to come into this and not fit in. Every­one has their own rou­tines. I know what I’ve got to do too, and it’s about hav­ing the con­fi­dence to do your own thing.

NH: So what’s with the left-arm spin?

JA: It just stretches the other side of your body. I don’t re­ally like do­ing a lot of stretch­ing any­way. I’d much rather bowl than sit and do the warm-ups. I was very close to bowl­ing it in a dead game against War­wick­shire last year. I just ended up bowl­ing leg­gies well, but I was itch­ing to bowl left-arm.

NH: So Root didn’t ask for any slow left-arm­ers against Steve Smith dur­ing the sum­mer, given his record against left-arm spin? Would you have done it?

JA: Why not? He scored 600 or 700 runs against my right arm — any more with the left wouldn’t hurt.

NH: Is it fair to say the thing you’re most re­mem­bered for, from the sum­mer, was the su­per over in the World Cup fi­nal?

JA: I thought you were go­ing to say it was for chuck­ing the beach ball back at Head­in­g­ley.

NH: You’ll be re­mem­bered for that as well! But did you re­alise what win­ning the World Cup meant for Eng­land fans and how im­por­tant it was for them? JA: Not re­ally. Not many Eng­land fans knew who I was any­way, so if they saw me in the street they prob­a­bly thought I was a foot­baller, or some­thing. I guess that was the beauty of it, be­ing able to go un­der the radar. NH: Were you ner­vous dur­ing that over?

JA: I had mixed emo­tions. I don’t think the wide from the first ball was a wide. I of­ten watch the re­play and I still don’t think it was a wide. I asked Morgs to re­view it! But I was calm. When they hit a six, I thought they were prob­a­bly go­ing to win it. I just needed to get Jimmy Nee­sham off strike — it took longer than I would have liked, but we got there in the end. Nee­sham was prob­a­bly the only one who was go­ing to hurt me.

For Martin Gup­till, it would have had to be a ter­ri­ble ball for him to hit me for six. I could bowl that ball with my eyes closed any­way. Morgs said: ‘Just back your­self’.

NH: Have you re­lived that last ball in your mind? Mor­gan said it all hap­pened in slow mo­tion.

JA: Yeah, I thought Ja­son Roy might fum­ble it, be­cause he’d fum­bled one al­ready in the over. But he at­tacked the ball and he placed his throw — he didn’t want to over­throw it. That just shows how much it meant to every­one, no one wanted to mess up. NH: Then came the Ashes. Your bat­tle with Smith at Lord’s was in­cred­i­ble. When you hit him, what was your ini­tial thought?

JA: Whether he was all right. I got a lot of grief for the way I re­acted, but a lot of peo­ple don’t know the full story. A lot of peo­ple don’t know what I did as soon as the in­nings was over any­way. I went to the dress­ing room but he’d al­ready left. I’d al­ready spo­ken to the physio to make sure he was all right. NH: You got grief be­cause Jos

But­tler came and said some­thing to you, and you smiled. What did he say?

JA: Not long be­fore I hit Smith, I’d got the wicket of Tim Paine. Be­fore he came in, Jos said: ‘If you get Paine out, you can have any­thing you want’. So I told him my car was dirty. He said: ‘I’ll hire a bucket and a chammy and wash the car my­self’. When I got Paine out, I for­got what But­tler had said and it was only when we were stand­ing to­gether later that I told him: ‘Jos, I think you’ve got to or­der that stuff now’.

There was no rea­son to laugh at Steve. We’d just spent two months with him at the IPL ear­lier in the year. I did see how it looked, but that’s why I am a bit frus­trated, be­cause see­ing it on TV doesn’t show the full side.

NH: Was that the quick­est you’ve bowled?

JA: The quick­est spell, yeah. I bowled some quick balls. Some­times it’s hard to tell. Some­times, you think ev­ery­thing’s come out well and you look at the gun and it says 87.

NH: After that spell, peo­ple like Michael Hold­ing said you’ve got to look after Archer. He will break down if you don’t. Do you agree?

JA: No. I re­mem­ber bowl­ing 50 overs for Sus­sex against Le­ices­ter. I guess in Eng­land it won’t be as hard on your body as it is in Aus­tralia or the Caribbean or In­dia. It’s just the feel on the day. In the next Test at Head­in­g­ley, I prob­a­bly touched 90mph about four or five times in the whole game. But if the pitch isn’t bounc­ing, there’s no rea­son why you should get an in­jury. And you’re only go­ing to go for runs if you’re try­ing too hard.

NH: It also strikes me that you want to show your skills. Does it frus­trate you that peo­ple al­ways ex­pect you to bowl fast, be­cause you want to show the world you’re a skil­ful bowler?

JA: It doesn’t re­ally frus­trate me. It doesn’t bother me what peo­ple are say­ing. So­cial me­dia is there for peo­ple to voice their crit­i­cism, so you shouldn’t take that to heart. But ob­vi­ously I want to be seen as skilled. I don’t want to be seen just as some­one who bowls fast.

NH: It was a cold, blus­tery day on the first morn­ing of the fourth Test at Old Traf­ford. One or two sug­gested you didn’t want to put it in on a cold day. Was that a bit harsh?

JA: A bit. A lot of the guys said it was the worst con­di­tions they’ve played in and they’ve lived here for 25 years. I guess it’s easy to bully the new boy. The next game, I got an­other five-for and every­one was singing my praises again. It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter to me.

NH: Was Test cricket ev­ery­thing you ex­pected it to be? JA: It did live up to ex­pec­ta­tion. With­out Smith, we would have 100 per cent won the Ashes. We prob­a­bly would

With­out Smith we’d have won the urn back by the third Test

have won it by the third Test. But he’s a good bat­ter and I don’t fancy bowl­ing at him any time soon. NH: Your other mem­o­rable bat­tle was with Matthew Wade, who ques­tioned your loy­alty to Ho­bart Hur­ri­canes in the Big Bash. Does that kind of thing get you go­ing? Are you some­one not to wind up?

JA: It de­pends. Ob­vi­ously be­cause I knew him, you still need some­thing to brag about in the chang­ing room. But you do need a good bat­tle as well, be­cause some­times it can get your heart pump­ing again.

It’s not that you’re go­ing through the mo­tions, but there can be times in a game when it’s just slow. Any­thing that can help to push the game for­ward — I have no in­ter­est see­ing the sec­ond new ball. If we can get them all out in 80 overs, I’m all for it. NH: You’re wear­ing your Manch­ester United top. I don’t know how aware you are of racism in foot­ball, but a cou­ple of peo­ple were ejected dur­ing the Old Traf­ford Test for shout­ing things at you. Were you aware of that? Does it hap­pen a lot in English cricket and would you ever con­sider say­ing: ‘Skip, I’m not go­ing to put up with this?

JA: I was aware what the guys were say­ing — some­thing about my pass­port — but I blanked them. It was only later that Rooty said the guys got ejected. It was the first time I’d seen some­one get ejected from a ground, be­cause there were some abu­sive fans when we played Pak­istan at Trent Bridge. They were hav­ing a proper go at (Ben) Stokesy, swear­ing and stuff, and I thought they were go­ing to get kicked out, but they watched the whole game.

I had prob­a­bly one other in­ci­dent at cricket. I was 12th man for Sus­sex at Tun­bridge Wells and I was sit­ting with my bib on and an old guy in the pav­il­ion asked if I was play­ing for Sus­sex. I said: ‘Yeah’. He said: ‘Why are you play­ing for Sus­sex?’ I was like: ‘Okay, right’. But it doesn’t re­ally hap­pen so of­ten in cricket and I’m well aware of the stuff that’s go­ing on in foot­ball.

The world’s chang­ing. It’s be­com­ing more mul­ti­cul­tural. A lot of peo­ple have ac­cepted it for what it is.

Look at the Eng­land cricket team — there’s huge di­ver­sity. It’s the same with any foot­ball club in the world. I think peo­ple have to ac­cept it. Times have changed, it’s not 2007 any more.

NH: I grew up in an era where there were a lot of play­ers from African-Caribbean com­mu­ni­ties — Devon Mal­colm, Chris Lewis, Phillip DeFre­itas, Glad­stone Small. Do you feel any kind of re­spon­si­bil­ity to young Bri­tish West In­di­ans, who might see you as a role model and want to play for Eng­land?

JA: Yeah, to let them know it’s pos­si­ble. It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter where you’re born. If you know that cricket’s what you want to do, you never know where you’ll end up. I didn’t know my dreams would come true and I’d end up play­ing cricket for Eng­land. If it hap­pens for me, it can hap­pen for any­one.

NH: On the flip­side, Sir Garfield Sobers said re­cently what a tal­ent you were and what a loss to West In­dian cricket you’ve been. It must be nice when the great man speaks highly of you?

JA: I saw that. It does feel good. He said they didn’t do enough to try to keep me, but they didn’t do any­thing at all! I made my choice a long time ago and I cer­tainly don’t re­gret it. NH: How do you jug­gle all your com­mit­ments — Eng­land, Big Bash, IPL, The Hun­dred — and keep your hunger and pace? Are you go­ing to play ev­ery­thing? JA: You can’t play ev­ery­thing, you’ve got to pick and choose. If you know you can be bowl­ing a lot of overs in a Test se­ries, it doesn’t make sense to be go to a fran­chise tour­na­ment two weeks later. I’d much rather take the rest.

GETTY IMAGES

Speed de­mon: Archer steams in dur­ing the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval

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