Joe Root has backed Jofra Archer to put the ‘disgusting’ abuse he has received since his unscheduled trip home from the England bubble behind him and is ready to throw him into Friday’s Wisden Trophy decider against West Indies.
The England captain is confident Archer is in the right frame of mind for the third Test after two days hard practice at Emirates Old Trafford that have ‘put a smile back on his face’ after the most difficult week of his fledgling international career.
Archer revealed in an explosive Sportsmail column on Wednesday that he had been racially abused on social media and believed he had been treated ‘like a criminal’ after breaching bio-secure regulations en route from Southampton to Manchester after the first Test.
But Archer, who suffered five days in isolation for the breach and missed England’s second Test victory, was named in a 14-man squad for Friday’s game that gives Root all possible bowling options.
And the captain looks certain to pick him ahead of the unlucky Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. ‘I think Jofra is ready,’ said Root.
‘He’s had two good days of training and he’s got a smile on his face. He’s bowled the speed of light over the last couple of days in some spicy nets so it wasn’t much fun for our batters.
‘It was disgusting to see some of the stuff he’s had to put up with over the last week and as a squad we’ll be around him and make sure he knows we’re all there for him.’
England’s selection is complicated by a thigh injury to their ‘Mr Incredible’ in Ben Stokes suffered towards the end of Monday’s 113-run victory that may force him to play just as a specialist batsman.
‘He’s fit to play but it’s just how much of an impact he can have with the ball,’ added Root. ‘We’ve got another day to work it out and we’ve got plenty of good options.’