Jofra, The Archer Hits Bullseye

Even a few months back Jofra Chioke Archer was a name ringing a bell to only those familiar with the English domestic T20s. When he was named in the World Cup squad of England for the World Cup 2019, many pundits raised eyebrows in disbelief. Who this guy is? How many tests has he played? At least how many ODIs to his name? The zero figures in the return convinced them of another choking performance from the eternal chokers, the British in the stage of world cricket.

The lanky fast bowler even played his first international T20 in May 2019 only, in the same month when he made his ODI debut against Ireland. But this English side had many a treasure hidden in their trove. If Jason Roy was one such gem, who despite having played a number of blitzkrieg knocks earlier, could never achieve the elite status in the league of extraordinary gentlemen of world cricket, Jofra was another gemstone ready to engage and entertain. For him, things were completely different and more difficult than the others of the side though. By the Englishmen, he has been regarded as an arsenal of talent, dynamite awaiting the blast. But so had been the case for the international underperformers of their domestic superheroes earlier. Graeme Hick, Dominic Cork, Steven Finn, Jake Ball so many to name. The skeptics commented he could shine in T20, but in tests or ODIs? Nah! But Jofra like this current crop of English players is made of a different metal.

With a smooth run-up, silky delivery and effortless follow-through, he produced corridor deliveries with consistent 145k+ speed, much to the discomfort of the batsmen, even those with technical superiority over others. That he can produce such intimidating speed and lethal swing with an apparently innocuous and simple bowling action has always been beyond the comprehension of the batsmen, who have been bamboozled often with his sheer pace. Even a batsman of the caliber of Steven Smith who was defending English bowling attack superbly fell prey to the dreadful pace and left the ground with a concussion in the just concluded test of the Ashes Series. And Jofra was just playing in his debut test.

He has been the pillar of the English bowling lineup since his arrival. So much has been his credibility within such a short span, his captain did not think twice to hand him over the ball for the super over in the much-discussed final of the World Cup 2019. And Jofra did not fail to return. In just 11 matches in the competition, he picked up 20 wickets, ranking third in the tally of highest wicket-takers, just behind Michelle Starc and Lockie Fergusson. The 24-year-old man has seized every opportunity to stun the cricket pundits all over the world. He has definitely a golden career ahead. How the British media very much known for pampering a player at the beginning of a career and then shying away in the difficult times handles him will have much to do with his career. How he himself continues to maintain the effectivity of his bowling without compromising the deadly speed will definitely hold a key to his long-term success. He has to be preserved like a rare gem and nurtured like a prodigious kid. With things supporting his immense talent, he has the potential to become the numero uno bowler in the world very soon.

News Reporter

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