India vs England: If pitches in Tests turn, matches won’t be one-sided, says Jofra Archer


England fast bowler Jofra Archer is hopeful that the pitches during their upcoming Test series on India tour will be sporting in nature and there will be some help for the pacers as well. However, he claims that even if the pitches are more inclined towards spinners, England won’t be outclassed.  Moeen Ali, Jack Leach and Dom Bess will be part of England’s spin attack which Archer says is capable enough to match the threat of India spinners comprising the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel and Washington Sundar. The two teams will square off in a four-match Test series starting February 5 in Chennai. 

While Archer has plenty of experience playing T20 cricket on Indian soil, the current tour will be the first time he will get a taste of what it’s like to play red-ball cricket in the country. 

“In the IPL the batters have to come at you, whereas in Test cricket they can sit on you for a full session if they want and if the pitch is dead there is nothing you can do about it,” Archer wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “So let’s hope we get some good wickets with a little bit of pace for the bowlers. Or even some turn, because if they spin, the matches will not be one-sided. We have good spinners in our squad and India won’t out-spin us.”

Archer was keeping a close eye on India’s tour of Australia that concluded earlier this month with the tourists winning a four-match series 2-1. Archer was might impressed by India’s performance especially how everybody contributed towards the win.

“Their (India’s) 2-1 win showed that you cannot underestimate any of the leading teams in Test cricket, even when some of their best players are missing. In fact, the one thing that impressed me most about India was that everyone in their team chipped in. If it wasn’t the guy who performed well in the previous innings, it was someone else,” he wrote.

With the amount of cricket being played today, one of the major headache for any team is to manage the workloads of their bowlers, especially the fast bowlers. This means they may have to sit out of certain games to keep them fresh and reduce the prospect of injuries hampering their career.

Archer, who has played 11 Tests since making his debut in August 2019, has no qualms and in fact, urged his teammates to get used to more rotation. “I know that Stuart Broad talked about playing two of six Test matches this winter because the conditions do not necessarily suit fast bowlers and, similarly, if I play two against India I will be happy. As an attack, we must get used to more rotation and it feels good that any one of us can walk away from the team knowing that whoever comes in as our replacement will perform,” he said.

“I guess for years it has been a big thing for bowlers to strive to keep their places in the team, but now it’s more like you are passing the baton over in as strong a position as possible. You don’t hold back, you must give everything you can when you get an opportunity. There’s no trying to preserve yourself. These are new times in cricket and you have to adjust,” Archer concluded.

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Sagar Biswas

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