Archer Writing His Own Story

Unless you’ve been living under Uluru, you’ll no doubt have noticed Jofra Archer’s eye-catching performances for Hobart in the Big Bash. The Sussex and Horsham all-rounder has been absolutely outstanding and emerged as one of the breakout stars of the tournament. The fans seem to love him even more than Bill Lawry loves Merv Hughes.

I love rooting for Archer because his tale is a great underdog story. He was originally spotted in the nets by England’s Chris Jordan when he was playing for Barbados five years ago. After the Windies left him out of their squad for the U19 World Cup – does anything in West Indies cricket make sense? – Jordan recommended him to Sussex.

After a stop-start beginning to his county career, in which he doubted his ability to return from a serious back injury, Archer finally broke into Sussex’s championship side in 2016. He really kicked on in 2017, when he took 61 wickets at 26 each, and scored 638 runs at an average of 46. Pretty useful stats I’m sure you’ll agree.

His story has just got better and better since. Here he was, playing for one of the smaller English counties, a team marooned in division two with their glory years apparently behind them, when Hobart Hurricanes, one of the Big Bash’s perennial underdogs, also came knocking. And yet, despite plying his trade with under-achieving teams (with a international future with England still to come!), Archer has emerged as one of the brightest talents in world cricket. He’ll deserve every penny if he secures a massive contract in next week’s IPL auction.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the impact Archer has made down under. I thought he’d do quite well – after all, even the likes of Joe Denly have found success in the Big Bash – but I wasn’t expecting him to emerge as one of the players of the tournament alongside teammate D’Arcy Short and Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

What’s impressed me most is the pace Archer has generated. He’s always been a bit slippery – he operated around 85mph when I saw him last summer – but he’s frequently registered over 90mph in this year’s Big Bash. One bouncer to Australia’s new ODI keeper Alex Carey hit 148kph. That’s Mitchell Johnson in the 2013 Ashes fast!

What amazes me is the simplicity of Archer’s action. He glides to the crease, and seems to generate most of his pace from a quick arm rather than brute force. He also has an uncanny knack of bowling unplayable yorkers that swing in late. That’s a very handy skill to possess. Oh, and did I mention that he’s an incredible natural athlete? If he’s not taking wickets, he’s creating spectacular run outs and catches. His efforts against Perth last week were simply incredible.

Obviously comparisons have been made to Chris Jordan, the man who ‘discovered’ him, and Chris Lewis. Both these superb athletes were born in the West Indies but ultimately played for England. However, unlike Jordan and Lewis, who generally under-achieved in international cricket despite their all-round talents, Archer seems to have far greater star potential. It’s very frustrating that he wants to play for England but won’t qualify for another four years – despite having a British father and a mother with UK citizenship. Someone more qualified than me might have to explain that one!

It will be fascinating to see how the next few weeks unfold for Archer. Hobart have a great chance of making the Big Bash semi-finals for the first time since 2013/14 – although their recent defeat to the red hot Scorchers hasn’t helped – and then there’s that looming IPL auction on the horizon too. Maybe Archer will fetch a higher price than Ben Stokes? At least (injuries permitting) he’ll definitely be available.

While Stokes’s cricket has gone somewhat under the radar in recent months, with just a few low-key games for Canterbury, Archer’s Big Bash exploits have rapidly turned him into the most marketable rising star in English cricket – even if he isn’t quite ‘English’ yet.

James Morgan

Written in collaboration with Oddschecker – the place for all the latest Big Bash betting 


  • Thanks for the article. I haven’t been living under Uluru (sadly) but I hadn’t noticed Archer’s performances either, for the simple reason that I don’t follow the Big Bash any more than I follow the IPL i.e. barely at all. I’d much rather read your blog, not only for its informative content but because the pages actually load and it doesn’t spend the whole time bombarding me with adverts, videos and audio. I therefore noted your betting collaboration with trepidation ;)

    • Ha! Thanks Hungerpang. Yes I’m careful when I do anything collaborative to keep the material authentic and non-intrusive. I insist on writing the copy myself so it fits naturally with the rest of the blog. I got BT sport for the Ashes so watching a little BBL with breakfast is an added bonus.

  • I’ve also been following with interest and has performed much better than English/Hobart team mate Tymel Mills!

    Amazing run out against the Scorchers the other day and the smoothness of his run up and delivery is reminiscent of Malcom Marshall.

    Just wish it wasn’t 4 years until he’s qualified for England ?

  • The angle I’m interested in is why no-one noticed this last summer? Do English journalists not watch the English T20 tournament?

    How many more “breakout stars” do we need to provide to the BBL before people realise that the standard of your average county T20 team is right up there with anything in the BBL? Sussex had Mills, Archer and Jordan last year. Apparently that Garton lad is quite sharp as well.

    • Garton is pretty quick but not exactly accurate! I agree mate. The Blast is a good competition. Re: Archer, I saw him a couple of times last year and didn’t really get the hype. He looked like a good prospect but nothing special and he didn’t really bowl as quickly as billed either. However, he’s really stepped up his game in the Big Bash and looks to be maturing rapidly. Shows the value of playing overseas really. Must be a great experience for the lad.

      • Archer was absolutely our player of the year at Sussex last season and I, like you, am delighted that he has taken yet another chance in the BBL. If he gets a big ipl contract then he more than deserves it… Although it leaves us a star player down for the beginning of the season. Weirdly though, we’ve got a strong bowling attack with Jordan, Garton and Sakande coming through as well.

        If anyone could explain why Archer isn’t available for England for another 4 years can they please do so. It makes no sense given others have qualified much quicker to play for us. Goodness knows we need him.

        • I usually root for Sussex. I live in nearby Kent these days (although I’m from Worcs originally) and I have a good mate who lives in Horsham. Lovely little ground there. It’s such a shame that Sussex are now in Div2. For years they were the smaller club tweaking the nose of the big boys. Lots to admire. Not so sure about Rob Andrew though!

      • Sussex seemed to be perpetually on sky last summer (no idea why, they’re hardly one of the high profile teams), so I watched a fair bit of him, and he was up in the high 80s and causing the batsmen all sorts of problems.

        Sky coverage of the T20 is strange. They pick odd games, if it rains at the game they’re following, they don’t switch to showing another, and the commentary veers from decent (Rob Key) to absolutely dire (Flintoff)

  • Hey! Don’t dis Joe Denly! His success in the BBl (& before that in the Bangladesh T20 league) has come as no surprise to those of us who watch county cricket – last season he was excellent in the CC and outstanding in the T20 (527 runs @ 43, 2 centuries, a scoring rate on 150).

    As for Archer – a great talent. I’d really like to see him playing Test cricket for the WI now – waiting for another 4 years may lose the best years of his career. But it’s his choice, of course.

    • Agreed Giles. The Windies must be kicking themselves, although I’ve read that they haven’t even been in contact with Archer. Just bizarre. If I was running Windies cricket I’d be on the phone asap begging him to switch back his allegiances.

      There’s also the risk, I suppose, that Archer may turn his back on international cricket altogether and become a T20 freelancer. That would be a shame.

      Re: Denly I used to rate him highly. I saw him make a superb half-century for the Lions against Australia at New Road a few years back. Brett Lee bowled rapidly but Denly played him with ease – including some delicious pulls (he looked like he had ages to play the ball). I thought he looked a class above all the other Lions batsmen, and I expected him to have a productive international career. He reminded me quite a lot of Michael Vaughan, perhaps more so than Vince.

      Unfortunately, however, his career just hasn’t kicked on. I have no idea why. Therefore I’ll always think of him as a great disappointment. He had so much potential. A first class average of 36 just doesn’t do his talent justice.

  • The comparisons with Ben Stokes are far too obvious to go down. Let’s just hope they start and end on the cricket field. Those yorkers, though, remind me of an earlier West Indian bowler: Big Bird (I don’t think Archer is as tall, though). Given that Bird was arguably the greatest ever ODI bowler (check his economy rate), Archer looks a prospect in limited overs cricket. The First Class stats aren’t bad either (batting average 38, bowling 26). Looks like a player of genuine promise.

  • I understand why England opted for the longer period because at the time when KP, Trott and Morgan were playing all formats and Keiswetter looked set to do the same, in addition to those like Prior and Strauss who were also born aboard but hadn’t lived there until late teens. It did look like England team was very much a world XI or SA Expats and Friends

    Of course they can change it any time they like or make exceptions, Australia have done that before.

    • Is that right, Nick? Can they change the rules? It seems amazing to me that he has to serve what’s effectively a nine year qualification period (he came to the UK in 2013 I think). Especially as he has a British Dad. I guess the problem is that he has represented the Windies at U19 level, even though he missed out on that World Cup. I have to admit that I’m not an expert on the qualification rules.

      • I think that’s the reason. If he hadn’t played for the WI U19s, he’d automatically qualify through parentage. Now the ECB have 4 years to iron out some imaginary problems with his action in conjunction with Sussex. He’ll be bowling at 80-82 in no time, and be completely toothless by the time he qualifies. But he’ll still be able to bat a bit, which will obviously get him a place in the side.

        Not that I’m cynical. Norman Cowans, anyone?

        • Yes Norman Cowans. Someone on twitter I think was telling me how quick he was when he first came on the scene. But I just remember him as an ordinary fast medium bowler.
          Must say Archer has a smooth bowling arm. I guess his pace is generated by rhythm. He has a nice simple action though.

          • Wayne Daniel said he was quick, which is good enough for me. He had it coached out of him in the search for consistency, just like Steve Finn.

      • Yes the Governing bodies set there own, Daniel Bell-Drummond could play for WI right now for example though his parents with no qualification period because they don’t set the limits we do.

        I am sure there would be some heckles from fans of other counties if the ECB bent their rules to get Archer in but are they really prepared to have this lad trotting the globe till 2022?

  • I have been watching and he is impressive. My only caveat is that I believe he is prone to back trouble – how often we have heard that in recent years about fast-bowling prospects. Too much training, not enough cricket?

  • I read somewhere that the length of time taken to qualify has something to do with whether he was here or not on his 18th birthday. So it’s possible for someone who arrives the correct side of that arbitrary date (not sure which side though), even if without any UK parentage, can qualify quicker than Archer, despite his British father, as he did not arrive at the right time. Daft! Only the ECB could think up that one.

  • As a resident of Hobart, I have been supporting the Hurricanes since inception of the BBL. We have had quite a few dud overseas players over the years, what a refreshing change Jofra has made to the team (although I did like Stuart Broad when he played for Hobart last season). Along with D’arcy Short, they have made me all excited about the team’s chances this year, if we can scrape into the final four. (Think I have been reading this blog for too long, is this how ever hopeful English supporters feel !!!!) Don’t think much of Mills, he is a very expensive bowler, but Jofra is great to watch bowling and in the field.. It is always interesting to read about “when will the player qualify for England”, it is something I don’t hear very often about the Australian team. … cheers from Tasmania.

    • Thanks Dave. So basically, having seen the success of Kevin Pietersen, the ECB want to prevent another Pietersen for playing for us again (for as long as possible that is).

      Why the rule change? I just don’t understand. What motivated them to change this rule from 4 to 7 years when it has worked fine in the past.

      • Isn’t KP’s mother English? So he could have played football for England without ever setting foot on UK soil. As could Jonathan Trott and most of the other ‘foreign’ players (I think)

        And Jofra Archer.

  • I saw Archer in the CC last year and was extremely impressed. He always seemed to be ‘in the game’ and whatever he did, he did very well and with enthusiasm. His athleticism was superb. I’d love to see him playing for England later this year (about time some of these quaint qualification rules were overhauled).

    I see Garton’s name crops up again. He has singularly unimpressed when I’ve seen him – related to A Flower per chance?

    • Re the qualification of Archer, I believe not only is it the amount of years he’s been resident but also the number of days per year which are relevant.
      The sooner the better!
      Garton is still very young and raw but the basics are there. His main attribute is that he’s a left armer and the ECB are desperate for a left arm quick which is why I think he’s being pushed through. Just needs more first class experience.

  • I cannot believe my eyes. This blog is having an intelligent discussion about the white ball game. Everyone seems to be genuinely positive. No hint of the apoplexy white ball cricket produced during the ashes series. Good on ya mates!

  • I may not be remembering correctly, but I seem to recall him being commented on in the review of the English counties seasons in a recent issue of The Cricketer. And, unless I am mistaken, it said he had not yet made a decision on who to represent in the future. So we should avoid counting chickens for a little while.

  • I can’t watch your video where I am, but if Archer’s caught and bowled of Ben Cutting when Hobart played Brisbane isn’t on it, try to find it on youtube.

    Commentators here were saying his run up and action were a bit like Andy Roberts.


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