Stuart Broad has praised the match-winning attributes of Jofra Archer and believes the England fast bowler is only going to get better.
Archer was the standout performer in a superb England bowling effort, taking 3-23 as Eoin Morgan’s side claimed a comprehensive eight-wicket win in the opening game of the five-match T20I series against India.
While Archer has enjoyed success in all formats at different times in his short international career, Rob Key thinks that it is in T20 cricket that the 25-year-old really excels.
“In this format, I reckon he is in complete control of his game, much more so than 50 overs and certainly more so than Test cricket. He’s a rare talent,” the Sky Sports pundit said.
“If you had to start from scratch and build a team, you had an auction and all of that, would you go for Archer or (Jasprit) Bumrah?
“I think I’d just go for Archer, at the moment because he can do every phase of the game with the ball and bowlers are so important, especially when you’ve got the pace that he has.
“Here he did it with the new ball, so he can attack with it and look to get wickets, he’s not just going to stop you from scoring runs; he can bowl in the middle when nothing is going on and he can also bowl at the death.”
As well as Archer has bowled, especially in white-ball cricket, his Test team-mate Broad thinks there is plenty more to come from his fellow seamer. Although he warned against expecting too much, too soon.
“He has got so many attributes to make him a match-winner,” Broad told Sky Sports. “And his confidence is building through experience in international cricket.
“Everyone has to be careful of not expecting him to do it in every format, every day, because he is a very talented cricketer but he is not superhuman.
“He is still really young and still learning. But the experience of playing in India, in the IPL, in pressure scenarios, is only going to make him a better cricketer.”
Broad also thinks that some of the criticism that Archer has received, particularly over his red-ball form since his stunning debut series against Australia in 2019, could help fuel the Bridgetown-born pacer’s desire to keep improving.
“I think Jofra does read a lot; he is very aware of what has been said about him, whether that is positive or negative,” he added. “Gone are the days of the Andy Flower era, where we banned newspapers from the changing room.
“It’s quite easy to ban a newspaper, because you just don’t buy it in the morning, but it’s another thing to ban social media – because it’s there, available on your phone.
“He is someone who is aware, but I’ve not seen that knock his confidence particularly. He has got that character you need at international level to want to prove people wrong.
“If someone criticises him, he will make it his mission to prove that person wrong. I don’t see that as a negative thing, as long as he keeps taking wickets.”
As for Archer himself, speaking to reporters after the game, he said of his performance: “I’m just glad to help in a win, to be honest.
“If I get one (wicket), or I get three, the way I bowl doesn’t change. It just depends on how lucky you are.
“When the competition’s tough, you have to step up. It brings out the best in me.”
Watch the second T20I between India and England from 2pm, Sunday on Sky Sports Cricket.