September 24, 2020

Archer says sport is ‘fickle’ and reports racist social media abuse

Jofra Archer was allowed to do some solitary fitness work during the second Test
England v West Indies, third Test
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford Dates: 24-28 July
Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, highlights on BBC Two at 19:00 (19:15 on Saturday), live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

England’s Jofra Archer has spoken about how “fickle” sport is and revealed he’s reported racist social media abuse since missing the second Test against West Indies.

The fast bowler was fined for breaching bio-secure protocols while travelling between venues – but is available again for Friday’s third Test.

“I know what I did was an error of judgement and I have suffered the consequences of that,” said Archer. “I haven’t committed a crime and I want to start feeling myself again.”

In a column with the Daily Mail, Archer says:

  • Ben Stokes “vowed to back and support” him on dealing with the “spotlight of international sport”
  • He has come off social media as it’s “unnecessary noise”
  • He has reported racist abuse on Instagram to the ECB
  • Went home to “drop off some stuff” and admits he made a mistake and has “done my time”

Archer went through a five-day period of isolation after visiting his Hove home on Monday during his journey from Southampton, where the first Test was held, to Manchester. He has since returned a second negative coronavirus test and will now rejoin his team-mates before Friday’s match at Emirates Old Trafford.

England levelled the three-match series with a 113-run win on Monday.

“This week has showed me that whatever I do will be a focus of attention,” Archer wrote. “If I sneeze too hard it’s going to be headlines.

“To be straight, if I play and don’t bowl 90 miles an hour it’s going to be news. If I don’t bowl 90 miles per hour for long enough it’s going to be news. If I don’t put my left sock on first, it’s going to be news. I understand that is the scrutiny of playing at this level and being in that spotlight.”

Archer referenced the “expectations” on Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford – calling him a “wonderful, wonderful man” for his successful campaign on free school meals, but claiming “it’s forgotten” with “a few bad minutes on the football field”.

And Archer also said the racist abuse of Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha made him decide “enough is enough” on social media.

Archer added: “The second innings in Southampton showed me how fickle cricket is. In the first innings, I hear I am this and that – over-rated. Then, the second innings comes, I do well and it’s all ‘he’s a great player.’ That’s cricket. Some days are good, some are bad. No one is going to be amazing all the time. Sometimes I feel it’s not a fair world – really and truly.

“And I sense a lot of negativity. I have played eight Test matches. How can someone be over-rated that has played just eight games?”