ENGLAND TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND 2019
Jofra Archer picked seven wickets in the two tour games © Getty
Jofra Archer is fairly new to international cricket, however counter-intuitive that might seem considering his exponential rise. The upcoming Tests against New Zealand will only be his second international assignment with the red ball, and first-ever with the Kookaburra red ball.
In the two tour matches leading up to the first Test in Mount Maunganui, the numbers would suggest that Archer was the most impressive of all England bowlers in every innings. Yet, the 24-year-old seamer isn’t very thrilled with the prospects of bowling with the red Kookaburra.
“I’d never bowled with the red Kookaburra before, but I knew it was going to be tough and so it proved,” he wrote for the Daily Mail. “People say it has a smaller seam than the Dukes ball we use in England but I’m not sure it has a seam at all. It isn’t pronounced on any part of the ball. It doesn’t hold its shine either and gets very old, very fast.”
Archer described the pitch for the three-day game as ‘probably the flattest’ he’s played on, which – coupled with the experience of bowling with the Kookaburra ball, made for a ‘bit of a wake-up call’. He now hopes that the pitch for the first Test would provide some encouragement for the quicks.
“We’ve heard conditions at Mount Maunganui might be more helpful and there could be a bit more pace, so we’ll have to be the judge of that. But that may be something to work with.
“When there’s nothing on offer from the conditions, you have to try whatever you can. You have to be inventive over here, which is one of the things we’ve spoken about as a group,” Archer added.
Pitches in New Zealand generally tend to flatten out as the match progresses. But Archer, in the four-Test matches he’s played, has already shown he’s well equipped of cranking it up with the old ball even when nothing’s happening off the surface.
Archer was England’s standout seamer in the recent Ashes series, with his battle against Steve Smith truly setting the series on fire. On debut at Lord’s, Archer delivered an exhilarating spell replete with bouncers to Smith with the old ball which ended up as one of the highlights of the summer. Only logical then that his clash with Kane Williamson – another great batsman – is awaited with great anticipation.
“I didn’t want to be bowling to Steve Smith again any time soon after what happened last summer,” Archer said. “But New Zealand have Kane Williamson, who isn’t going to give you much either. We’re probably going to have to try a bit of everything against him, although he plays the short ball pretty well.”