In the latest issue of All Out Cricket magazine, we picked out Sussex paceman Jofra Archer as one of our 10 to watch for 2017. He’s lived up to his billing with 14 wickets in his first two matches of the campaign, including a career-best haul of 7-67 against Kent.
Born in Barbados to an English father and Bajan mother, Jofra Archer is hoping to follow the career trajectory of his Sussex teammate and close friend Chris Jordan and play for England. The impression he made after breaking into Sussex’s first team last summer indicated he has the raw materials to do that.
It was Jordan who first alerted Sussex to Archer’s talent after facing him in the nets back in Barbados five years ago. “I kept my eye on him and took him under my wing because I really liked his character and how he went about his cricket,” said Jordan. “The sky is the limit for him.”
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Archer played for West Indies under 19s in 2013 but after suffering a serious back injury he slipped out of the Barbados system and built himself back up under Sussex’s watchful eye, playing for the county’s second XI and for Horsham in the Sussex Premier League. He made his first-class debut against Pakistan last July, taking 4-49, and finished the campaign with 40 wickets from 14 matches across all competitions.
Jon Lewis, Sussex’s assistant head coach, doesn’t try to hide his excitement. “He’s got a very high action, bowls at 85mph and he’s got a very easy, relaxed action – his pace comes from nowhere,” the former England seamer tells AOC. “I think there is a lot more to come from him pace-wise. He has spent time this winter working hard on his body and now we are exploring his run-up and how fast he can actually bowl.
“He’s 6ft 4in, gets really good kick out of the wicket and he moves the ball both ways. He’s a very, very skilful bowler for a man of his age. Jofra wants to play for England – that’s why he’s here – and I firmly believe the potential is there to do that.”
Archer also showed his promise with the bat last season, hitting 73 from No.8 on his Championship debut against Essex, and Lewis believes he could develop into a genuine allrounder. “He can catch well in the slips and he can bat too,” he says. “He’s very orthodox for a Caribbean batter and I can see him batting as high as seven, maybe even six. Not this year but over time.”
For our full ‘Ten to Watch’ for 2017, pick up a copy of issue 151 of the magazine.