Ashes 2019: I can’t wait to see Jofra Archer bowling for England in Australia – Jonathan Agnew


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Highlights: Archer takes six wickets as England take control

Can you imagine Jofra Archer versus Steve Smith in Australia, on hard, pacey pitches, in two years’ time?

With more pace from Mark Wood and Olly Stone possibly backing it up? And then Stokes, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes… it’d be fabulous!

I really hope that we will get to see a Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes Test quartet at some stage in the future.

Archer bowled so well for his 6-62 at The Oval as Australia stumbled to 225 all out, and I’ve really enjoyed watching him.

In Manchester, he wasn’t at his best – it was cold and he’s going to have more days like that to cope with. But here, with the sun on his back, a little bit in the pitch, he has bowled with accuracy and hostility, which is what you want.

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Archer is a laid-back sort of fellow and he seems to have fitted in really well with England in all formats. He keeps changing his hair, he’s got gold bouncing around his neck – I’ve interviewed him a few times and he’s a very likeable lad. Nothing seems to faze him.

One of the things about him is how quickly he learns things. He has a very good knuckleball that he learnt in a week and then bowled it in the World Cup final Super Over with a packed Lord’s watching – that’s extraordinary!

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It shows how talented he is. He can learn quickly, and he has the confidence to do well. He will go from strength to strength, no doubt.

I think he should be a short spells man. When you’ve got someone who you think is going to get you wickets, you keep them on, and Joe Root will have to be careful with him.

Ray Illingworth always captained John Snowreally well. In Australia, Snow bowled three-over bursts. He knew that was what the captain wanted and, as a bowler, you gear yourself up for that – you know what your role is and you know you’re not going to be bowled into the ground.

If Archer is used in short spells and it doesn’t quite work in one, he still has the power to come back for a second.

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What is interesting about Archer is his speed varies quite a lot, and I don’t think he’s doing it deliberately.

He comes off a short run with a very easy, relaxed sort of approach. Therefore when it all clicks, you get those astonishing 90mph blasts. Other times, he’s hovering around the 87mph mark, which is still quick, but it’s interesting to watch the way the ball comes out.

I have no doubt that he is going to get better and better.

I suspect that somewhere down the line Archer is going to have the question about Twenty20 leagues – whether he wants to be travelling for months and be away for ages. It’s going to be something England might have to look at, how they can manage not just Archer but the other, talented T20 players.

Kevin Pietersen wanted to do that and it was thrown out, but I think times have changed. I think England have woken up to the fact that they are going to allow their cricketers to go.

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‘I can’t believe what we have just witnessed’ – England finally dismiss Smith

Finally, Sam Curran. I rather fancied him to get Steve Smith out today and he troubled him, although that wicket went to Woakes in the end.

What I love about both Currans, having known their dad Kevin pretty well and played against him a lot, is that they’re both ferocious competitors.

You can see both of them are a chip off the old block. Sam comes bustling in, and he’s a little terrier, nipping away at your ankles, asking questions.

Hopefully we will see these promising young players in New Zealand and South Africa this winter, on both hard pitches and ones that swing. Having looked bereft overseas the last time they were in Australia, suddenly England have men for all seasons.

That is what pace does for you.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport’s Amy Lofthouse.

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