Monday, July 13, 2020 | ePaper

Pace face-off with Mark Wood motivates Archer

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Jofra Archer is in high spirits after helping England to victory against Bangladesh. But his mood is about to change as he addresses the media in the post-match mixed zone.
The 24-year old has just taken figures of 3 for 29 in perhaps his most incisive spell for England. Things are all the sweeter after he was not only wicketless against Pakistan, but expensive too: his 10 overs conceding 79 runs as England uncharacteristically lost their way in the field.
This was also his quickest spell for England, thanks partly to the strong Cardiff wind on his back as he strutted in from the Cathedral Road End. His average speed up top was 145.84 kph - the fastest opening spell for England in ODIs since 2006 - and he peaked with a delivery 153.04 kph. However, as Archer is about to find out, it was not the quickest.
"Huh?!" comes the shock after he had boasted about being "a little bit quicker" than fellow speedster Mark Wood, only to be informed that Wood had a delivery clocked at 154 kph. "No he didn't?!" responds Archer in disbelief.
It's all tongue-in-cheek, as was Archer's assertion of bias that "only Woody's speed came up" on the big screen and none of his. Nevertheless, it is hard to remember a time when England had two bowlers capable of scaring the bejesus out of quality batsmen. Because they certainly do now.
"its good competition really to have someone (like Wood) at the other end," said Archer. "If pushes you to do a bit better. Any little thing that can make you better makes the team better."
The story goes that Darren Gough and Andy Caddick were at each other's throats during the 30 Tests they spent together which drove them both to become two of England's finest seamers. They refute the suggestion, especially Gough who calls Caddick a good friend, both now and during their playing days.
Archer and Wood will have a bit more time to get to know each other, but the mutual admiration is clear. Wood in particular is envious of Archer's ability to just walk up and send the ball down at speeds he has to charge in and bend his back to replicate. Archer, though, cedes he is not obsessed with pace.
"It's nice to see [his speeds] but I'm much more concerned about bowling well. If I bowl at just 90 and I'm bowling well, I'd be much more happier than bowling fast and going for six or seven an over." Then again, he did enjoy pinning opening batsman Tamim Iqbal with a couple of short balls: "If I get hit once, I don't want to be there anymore really. Imagine getting hit twice!"
The most eye-catching impact though came with his dismissal of left-hander Soumya Sarkar - bowled for just two. The speed was such that the ball flew off the middle-and-off bail, right over the boundary rope behind wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

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