England’s newest cricket hero Jofra Archer has been awarded his first Test and white-ball central contracts after playing an instrumental role in this summer’s World Cup and Ashes.
Archer followed up being England’s leading wicket-taker in their triumphant World Cup campaign with 22 scalps at an average of 20.27 in four Tests against Australia, while he routinely touched speeds in the mid-90mph range in a scintillating debut international summer.
He is one of 10 players to receive a Test deal for the 2019/20 season, as is opener Rory Burns, who cemented his spot at the top of the order with some battling performances in the Ashes.
Spin duo Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have lost their central Test contracts but are in a list of 12, also including Joe Denly, to be handed white-ball deals.
Moeen was dropped from the World Cup squad towards the end of the group stage before a dismal showing in the Ashes opener, where the all-rounder contributed four runs across two innings and bowled poorly on a helpful Edgbaston surface, led to him being left out of the remainder of the series.
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Rashid was a regular for England in the Test side last summer but lost his place during the winter tour of the West Indies and was unused against Australia – although he is a regular in Eoin Morgan’s white-ball set-up.
Jofra Archer is set to sign a central contract with the ECB as a reward for his remarkable rise to stardom that will make him one of England’s best-paid cricketers.
Archer, who only debuted for England in May, was a key player during this summer’s World Cup victory, and he then went on to make his first Test appearance in the second match of the 2019 Ashes.
The 24-year-old, who was born in Barbados, kept his place for the third Test and took his first five-wicket haul as England record the most stunning of victories over Australia.
Archer’s performances in 2019 will see him awarded both Test and white-ball contracts when the ECB hands out new deals next month, The Times report.
He faces earning more than £1million-a-year from the governing body, on top of the £800,000 he gets playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
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Ten players are currently on central Test contracts, though Adil Rashid may lose his deal as he is unlikely to remain part of England’s Test squad.
Joe Root, who has Test and white-ball contracts, is understood to be the highest-earning England cricketer at present. He makes just shy of £1m-a-year, which includes a bonus for being captain of the Test team.
Jofra Archer’s eagerly-anticipated England Test debut has been put on hold as the first day of the second Ashes Test match at Lord’s was washed out before a ball had been bowled.
In fact, the most exciting moment of the bleak day at the home of cricket came when fast bowler Archer, who helped England win the World Cup earlier this summer, was handed his first cap by Sussex team-mate Chris Jordan.
Only eight of Jordan’s 78 England appearances have come in the five-day format but he was easily the most apt choice to welcome his fellow Barbadian into the fold, having helped the man he calls a ‘little brother’ swap the Caribbean for Hove three years ago.
When Jordan presented Archer with his Three Lions cap, shortly before 3pm, there was still hope of seeing him in action but fading hopes of getting captains Joe Root and Tim Paine to complete the toss disappeared as another heavy downpour struck.
Forecasts are better for day two, when the famous old ground will turn red in support of the Ruth Strauss Foundation – a lung cancer charity set up to honour the late wife of Andrew Strauss, the former England captain and director of men’s cricket.
Fans have been asked to wear the colour and both teams will wear limited-edition caps and shirts to be auctioned off, one of several fund-raising initiatives in place on Thursday.
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Play will be extended by half an hour on each of the remaining four days, meaning only one session has been lost to the weather at this stage.
England, who have yet to reveal whether Sam Curran or Jack Leach will take the final place in their side, are 1-0 down after their heavy loss in the series opener at Edgbaston but will be buoyed by the presence of Archer’s formidable 90mph pace.
World Cup hero Jofra Archer has been named in England’s Test squad for next week’s Ashes opener at Edgbaston, with all-rounder Ben Stokes reappointed as vice-captain.
The calls represent a huge endorsement for two men who arguably did more than anyone to deliver England’s historic World Cup final win over New Zealand earlier this month, involved with bat and ball in the unprecedented super over which secured the silverware.
Archer, uncapped at Test level, was nursing a side strain after the tournament but reported fit after a brief holiday in his native Barbados and returned to action for Sussex on Friday night.
His two wickets for 21 runs in the tied Vitality T20 Blast clash with Surrey convinced the selectors to include him in an expanded 14-man squad featuring plenty of bowling options.
Stokes, meanwhile, reclaims his position as Joe Root’s deputy – a role he was stripped of following a late night brawl in September 2017. He was ultimately cleared on a charge of affray last summer but Jos Buttler has been acting vice-captain until now.
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Ten of the 11 players who defeated Ireland in a rollercoaster Test at Lord’s are included, joined by Stokes, Archer, Buttler and James Anderson, who were all rested for that match.
Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad finished things in spectacular style at the home of cricket, taking six for 17 and four for 19 respectively as the Irish were demolished for just 38. Olly Stone and left-armer Sam Curran complete the pace options.
Jack Leach unfortunately misses out having been named man of the match for his nightwatchman’s knock of 92 in a low-scoring game. His left-arm spin was considered surplus to requirements.
National selector Ed Smith said: “Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here.
“Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles. In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket.
“The wider circumstances – a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series – are unprecedented. It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection.”
On Stokes’ return to a leadership position, a statement confirmed the decision had passed through several senior management figures at the England and Wales Cricket Board.
It read: “Colin Graves, chairman of the ECB, has approved the reappointment of Ben Stokes as Test vice-captain following the recommendation from managing director of England men’s cricket Ashley Giles and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison.”
Former England batsman Pietersen told talkSPORT: “People must not underestimate the value of Jofra Archer in that England side. Fast-tracking him in that England side won them that World Cup.
“A guy like Chris Woakes was able to just be under the radar there, Mark Wood came on first change, Jofra Archer bowled the super over yesterday.
“He is as valuable as anybody in that team. I know Ben Stokes has taken the plaudits and got the man-of-the-match and a lot of the batters, like I did throughout my career, got a lot of the credit the bowlers didn’t.
“Jofra Archer is a very special bowler and there was method in England’s madness to fast track him into that England team.
“I think they could see the value of him and what he could bring to one-day cricket.”
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Pietersen believes that Archer must now been included in the Test squad to face Australia in The Ashes, which gets under way next month.
He added: “Some people say it’s his best form of the game and if you actually look at the lines that he bowls…
“The short deliveries he bowls, so he can be aggressive in spells and change his lines to right and left handed batters.
“He is very disciplined in his line and length and it looks like he doesn’t use too much effort in bowling.
“I’ve played both with and against hi, and it looks effortless. It’s like a golfer’s swing.
“You look at his distribution when he drives through the crease. You look at Goughie, he looked like he was stealing hub caps off a moving car when he bowled.”
Roy has scored 426 runs in just seven games, after missing three with a hamstring injury, while Archer is the host country’s leading wicket taker with 19 scalps.
The Ashes start next month and despite no Test appearances between them, both are in the frame for selection, particularly for Roy opening the batting as England have struggled at the top of the order in recent years.
Giles told talkSPORT: “I’m not a selector, but I think they (Archer and Roy) have made a great case.
“Jofra has been a revelation really to come in. Talk about horizontal, he has been just calm and relaxed but at the same time can bowl the best part of 100mph.
“He’s been a great addition to this team.
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“And Jason Roy, talk about getting our mojo back when he came back into the team, he really gave us that ignition at the top of the order.
“He is a really accomplished and dangerous player but very mature now. I would have thought his hat is well and truly in the ring for the Ashes.”
Jason Roy made light work of the visitor’s 161 target to give the hosts a morale-boost ahead of Thursday’s opening fixture with South Africa.
Afghanistan were dismissed for just 160, Jofra Archer leading the way with three wickets and Joe Root matching that haul with his part-time spin.
The chase was conducted with brutal disdain by Roy, smashing 11 fours and four sixes, in his 46-ball 89 not out.
The Surrey man finished it in the 18th over with a maximum beyond mid-wicket, leaving 195 deliveries unused.
There was more good news from England’s medical department too, with paceman Mark Wood cleared for action against South Africa after an all-clear from scans on his left ankle.
Captain Eoin Morgan was also back from his fractured finger, but opted not to field and was not needed with the bat.
Faced with a paltry chase on a docile wicket, England’s opening pair were never likely to take a timid approach.
Roy confirmed as much when he chopped the first ball for four and Jonny Bairstow needed no invitation to follow suit, cracking Dawlat Zadran for back-to-back boundaries.
After leaking 32 from three overs Afghanistan sent an SOS to star man Rashid Khan but even an over of his tricky leg-spin failed to slow the charge. Roy pierced the infield to take four from his loosener and Rashid departed again after five more runs from his next five balls.
Roy was badly dropped by Dawlat on 20 and it proved a painful error, England cashing in with 30 runs in two overs. Bairstow’s fun stopped on 39 when Mohammad Nabi beat him on the outside edge and his trailing boot lifted just long enough for Rahmat Shah to make a smart stumping.
Root played anchor for 29 not out as Roy continued swinging the bat, a turbo-charged ramp shot off Gulbadin Naib and a slog-sweep against Rashid both soaring for six before the early finish.
Archer had earlier kickstarted the collapse with a brisk new-ball spell, drawing a top edge from Hazratullah before Rahmat was cramped for room and spoon-fed a catch to mid-on. Having not been named in England’s preliminary World Cup squad, it increasingly appears impossible that the 24-year-old will not take the new ball in the opening fixture.
Opener Noor Ali offered some resistance, scrapping to 30 before playing Ben Stokes into his off stump attempting an uncertain stroke.
With Hashmatullah chewing up dot balls at one end, former captain Asghar Afghan decided the introduction of Root’s occasional spin could not go unpunished. After missing out on a full toss, Asghar tried to launch his second ball over the ropes but instead picked out Roy in the deep.
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The next four wickets tumbled in the space of just seven deliveries, Hashmatullah and Najibullah Zadran carelessly run out, Gulbadin holing out to Moeen Ali and Rashid guided Root to slip for a golden duck. It was a calamitous period for the Afghans, who were shaping to use up little more than half their allotted overs.
Nabi spared them from the worst projections, striking three sixes and inflating the total by 68 alongside the last two batsmen.
Aftab Alam gave Root a third success of the day and Nabi was last man out when a meaty thick edge off the returning Archer sailed to Bairstow at third man.
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