LONDON, CMC – With just three One-Day International under his belt heading into cricket’s biggest showpiece, it would have been understandable if England’s Barbadian fast bowler Jofra Archer was already feeling the pressure of expectations.
After all, he was only drafted into the final squad two weeks ago after making his international debut earlier in May, and is likely to find himself in the final XI when favorites England take on South Africa in the ICC World Cup opener before a full house at the historic Oval on Thursday.
However, the unflappable 24-year-old said he was relaxed heading into the May 30 to July 14 tournament, pointing out that his two stints in the Indian Premier League had prepared him for high pressure situations.
“I’ve been put in pressure situations a few times since playing out in India, so I think I know what to look forward to if it happens,” Archer said.
“You can’t say for certain what’s going to come because it’s cricket. It’s an unknown really. I’m just going in with an open mind. Sometimes you feel the pressure. It’s good. You know you’re human. Some people might deal with it in their own way.
“I deal with it my way, some people deal with it their own way – I don’t say it gives me an advantage.”
He continued: “The flip side of that, some of the other guys who are a bit nervous put everything in their brain and it might just help. Sometimes I could be too relaxed and I may not remember a few things.
“As I said earlier, I don’t think it’s a huge advantage. I guess it helps in some situations as well.”
Archer is expected to form a pacy new-ball combination with Mark Wood as England go in search of their first-ever World Cup title.
Despite being born and raised in Barbados, Archer holds a British passport through his father, making him eligible to represent England. He played for West Indies Under-19s six years ago before turning his attention to making the England squad.
After becoming eligible for selection last March, he made his one-day debut against Ireland and has since played two more matches in the recent series against Pakistan.
And though he has played more T20 cricket than he has the 50-overs format, Archer does not believe this leaves him at a disadvantage.
“For me nothing has changed, I still have to do the same things,. I need to hit the top of off and bowl as straight as possible,” he explained.
“Then at the back [end] there is the change of pace and yorkers so for me I’ve got a dream gig bowling the same thing in both formats. You just get more opportunity to bowl [in ODIs].
“Sometimes [in T20] if I get in the middle of a good spell, I know I can only bowl 24 balls. Here, if you’re in a good spell, you can end up taking four, five or six wickets. I quite enjoy 50-over cricket as it gives you more opportunities to get wickets.”
Rested for most of the five-match series against Pakistan, it means Archer has bowled a mere 22 overs in ODIs ahead of the World Cup, one of the few regrets he has.
“I think that would have been good [to] double what I’ve done. If I’d had two more games then hopefully I would have bowled my full quota,” he said.
“I wish I had bowled a few more overs. I’ve bowled about 20 overs in the last month in a match situation which isn’t really ideal. The flip side of that is you get to rest and I’ve had a long six months going back to October.
“I can get by, but personally I’ve not played a lot of 50-over cricket in the last year so I just wanted to top up.” – (CMC)