India v England 2020-21 – Eoin Morgan backs Jofra Archer after doubts raised about Test commitment

Eoin Morgan has insisted he has no concerns about Jofra Archer’s enduring motivation to play for England in all three formats, after the bowler himself used his newspaper column to hit back at suggestions – most notably from the former England captain, Michael Vaughan – that he “does not love Test cricket”.

Archer played in the first and third Tests of England’s 3-1 series defeat to India, claiming four wickets at 30.50, a return that was consistent with his current Test average of 31.04. However, having bowled just five overs in the latter match, doubts about his appetite for the longest format resurfaced after he missed the series finale with an elbow injury.

A similar affliction – later diagnosed as a stress fracture – had ruled him out of the back end of England’s tour of South Africa last winter. However, writing in the Daily Mail, Archer stated that the two issues were unrelated, and expressed his annoyance that he seems to be judged more harshly than his team-mates whenever he has a quiet game.

“A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response,” Archer wrote. “Let me be clear about something: I’ve never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I’ve always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn’t changed, and never will as far as I’m concerned.

“I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don’t feel I’ve had a bad game so far — yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what’s going on.

“Comments like ‘he’s not committed’ or ‘he’s not good enough’ appear as soon as you are not 110 percent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions.

“I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: ‘If Jofra doesn’t love Test cricket, England need to find out why.’ We’ve never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn’t know what makes me tick. He doesn’t know what’s driving me.”

Speaking on the eve of the T20I series, Morgan confirmed that his strike bowler was fit and ready to take part in the opening fixture at Ahmedabad, and gave his own perspective on the insinuations that Archer is a difficult player for England captains to manage.

“He’s a huge asset,” Morgan said. “He’s a guy that bowl in three parts of the game and can be threatening whenever he comes on. He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations, and has a very good yorker. He’s a huge asset in any format.

“I do [find him easy to manage]. He’s always been engaging,” Morgan added. “He is a younger member of our squad that has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late 20s, early 30s.

“He loves enjoying what he does, in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket, playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a huge family man. The more I have got to know him: one, the better our relationship is but two, the more I have grown to enjoy his company away from the game because I have got to know him more. He’s a funny guy.”