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NASSER HUSSAIN: It was a bad decision, but England should bring Archer back after this test

It was a bad decision and Jofra Archer dropped captain Joe Root and his teammates, but England should bring back after this test

  • Archer was removed from the English team on the morning of the second test
  • Officials in England remained ‘smoking’ after ‘violation of bio-safe protocols’
  • He sounded sincere in his apology and we must hope he learns from this mistake

We get occasional advance warning from the ECB about an announcement, so when we were told early Thursday that something big was imminent, I thought a player had failed a Covid test or his would reveal retirement.

When we were told that Jofra Archer had broken the coronavirus protocols, I just thought, ‘Oh no, what did he do? What a crazy thing to do. ‘

Yes, the environment England was in this summer is not easy for anyone and you have to think about the players. They have been in this bubble without their family for weeks and it is not easy to continue.

Archer casts into the nets at Old Trafford on Tuesday ahead of the second of three tests

Jofra Archer casts into the nets at Old Trafford on Tuesday for the second of three tests

But the rules are there and everyone involved in this test series should abide by them. More importantly for Archer, all of his teammates have adhered to it.

I’m sure they would have liked to come home to charge their batteries too, but they didn’t.

And what about the West Indies? They’ve come to a country with a much worse Covid record than theirs and have been stuck in hotels for over a month.

I’m sure they would love to go out too, but they didn’t. They have made many health sacrifices for English and international cricket.

Jofra Archer has not respected both his English teammates and the West Indian players

Jofra Archer has not respected both his English teammates and the West Indian players

Jofra Archer has not respected both his English teammates and the West Indian players

The commentators have been lucky. We were allowed to go home between tests and that was a blessing after just five days in the bubble. But it is stricter for the teams and they all knew what they were participating in.

Whether Archer did this naively or knew full well that he broke the rules, we don’t know, but he left his teammates and his captain, Joe Root.

Root was already without Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood for this second test and the last thing he needed was also to lose Archer on what is usually one of the fastest fields in England.

Had this been known before the team announced late on Wednesday afternoon, Root might have had at least one of Wood and Anderson at their disposal. But once that squad was called and England said they were being rested, the captain couldn’t really come back to that because a third was suddenly unavailable.

It must be said that Jofra immediately raised his hands and said sorry. He sounded sincere in his apology and we can only hope he learns from this mistake. I do feel for the people who went to such lengths to make this extravaganza possible. I’ve attended many meetings through Zoom about this summer’s biosecure packages, and what happened behind the scenes is simply incredible.

Archer has let Captain Joe Root and his teammates down by breaking the Covid rules

Archer has let Captain Joe Root and his teammates down by breaking the Covid rules

Archer has let Captain Joe Root and his teammates down by breaking the Covid rules

A small example of the detail: I walked early yesterday on empty terrain from the hotel where we are staying to one of our temporary positions. Immediately I received a text message asking me not to do so in case I came into contact with a player. We shouldn’t get anywhere.

Everyone at the ECB knows the financial importance of the agency workforce deal to tackle this whole story. Not only jobs, but the future of many cricket players is at stake and the people who have put in and continue to do all that work are the ones who are most abandoned by Archer.

Michael Holding made a good point yesterday at the start of Sky’s program.

Should the English team travel with a coach between matches? At least they would know that no one breaks the rules.

It was fortunate that Archer’s detour via Hove came into existence on Wednesday night, as it would have been terribly worse if England hadn’t realized he had only done this two days after the game. What would have happened then?

It was really great to see Jofra back to somewhere close to his best in the second innings of the first test. He missed so much cricket and it would have been nice to see him following it here in Old Trafford. But the right decision had been made.

And I think missing this test is enough punishment.

Archer knows he’s wrong and it will be pretty miserable to stay in his room for five days and have two more Covid tests before he gets back into the group. Once this game is over and when he clearly comes back from those tests, we should all move on with a clean slate.

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