Jofra Archer has rapidly become one of the most exciting young allrounders in English county cricket. Born in Barbados to an English father and Bajan mother, he is ambitious to follow his Sussex teammate Chris Jordan into the England side. It was Jordan who first alerted Sussex to Archer’s talents after facing him in a net session in Barbados and his assessment that “the sky is the limit” has been borne out by batting and bowling spells of great promise.
It would be a seven-year qualification to play for England, not complete until 2022-23 which at the speed he is developing would deny international cricket of a gifted cricketer for around four years, frustration no doubt for West Indies cricket.
Archer, a silky fast bowler with a high action capable of speeds in the mid-80s and dangerous lower-middle order batsman, played for West Indies under 19s in 2013 but after suffering a serious back injury he slipped out of the Barbados system. Instead, he rallied while playing for Sussex’s second XI and for Horsham in the Sussex Premier League.
Archer claimed four scalps on his first-class bow against Pakistan before collecting a maiden five-wicket haul in a Royal London Cup defeat to Somerset. He had been playing without a contract because of a long-term back injury, but Sussex acted quickly to secure him for longer. He made a powerful impression when he broke into Sussex’s Championship side in the latter half of 2016, making his debut in all three formats and took 35 wickets in all, 23 of them at 30 runs apiece in Division Two of the Championship to bring cheer to a mundane Sussex season. He also wasted no time showing his potential with the bat as he struck 72 batting at No 8 on debut against Essex.
He floated into the crease with good effect in 2017, too, with 61 wickets at 25 and an average of more than 45 with the bat, a bright aspect of Sussex’s flagging promotion campaign.
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