Hours before the start of the second Test match between England and West Indies at Old Trafford, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)have announced that fast bowler Jofra Archer has been excluded from the squad following a breach of the team’s bio secure protocols. The Board has stated that Archer will now have to undergo 5 days of self isolation and test himself for COVID-19 twice in this period. Upon returning negative results for both tests, his self-isolation term will be lifted.
Archer said in the statement, “I am extremely sorry for what I have done. I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble. It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry.”
The West Indies team have been made aware and are satisfied with the measures that have been imposed.
With England resting James Anderson and Mark Wood for this Test match, owing to rotation of their fast bowlers to ensure that everyone remains fit and fresh for the upcoming matches, an irresponsible act such as this from Archer have put the Board in a very inconvenient position. They might have to name an immediate replacement for Archer, and either one of Sussex quick Ollie Robinson and all rounder Sam Curran might get an immediate chance to be in the playing XI after being drafted into the squad as replacements for Anderson and Wood, if England decide to play four fast bowlers along with Stokes being a fifth option.