England vice captain Ben Stokes wants his team members to ensure that Jofra Archer, who has had to isolate himself in his room due to his unsanctioned visit to his home in Brighton, does not feel left out of the England team.
Stokes, who has been involved in unfortunate incidents which has cost him a place in the England side in the past, most notably the events surrounding his arrests in Bristol in 2017, called on the team to be there for one of their premium fast bowlers. He said, “For us as players, and as the England cricket group, this is a time where our way of operation really needs to come through. We really need to be there to support Jofra right now, because obviously he’s a big talking point, and he is by himself because of everything else going on at the moment.”
“But it’s about making sure that he doesn’t feel like he’s by himself. The worst thing that we can do right now, as a team, is to just leave him and say ‘see you in five, six days’ time. Times like these for people are very, very tough. You can feel like you are all by yourself, but I don’t think anybody is going to allow that to happen. Jofra is a massive part of this group, as everybody is. If it was anybody else like Jofra, it would be exactly the same way of handling as a team.”
Stokes and Archer have shared a significant rapport. The duo played together for the Rajasthan Royals before Archer made his England debut last year. Stokes, who was at the receiving end of that Carlos Brathwaite onslaught which helped West Indies clinch the 2016 T20 World Cup title at the Eden Gardens, was there to offer Archer a valuable piece of advice right before the Barbados born fast bowler’s over in the super over of the ODI World Cup final last year. His words were, “whatever happens here will not define your career”. Archer kept his nerve and bowled England to World Cup glory. Stokes intimated that England needed to bear that achievement in mind while casting judgment on this episode.
He said, “It’s all good being there for people when things are going well and smoothly.but what really comes through is how you operate with someone when they need you the most.”