As an old-timer who never had to deal with social media, I have a lot of sympathy with Jofra Archer.
In my day, if you’d made a mistake you’d shut yourself away and make sure you didn’t read the papers. Now, the vitriol these guys face on Twitter and Instagram is something else.
Even if this were a normal summer, it would be hard for Jofra to deal with what he’s gone through since he took that detour to Hove instead of heading straight to Manchester.
But it’s made even more difficult by the fact that he had to go into isolation for five days, when he’s had time to read all the stuff that’s been written about him, and mull everything over.
It can’t be healthy, and I’m sure the ECB understand they have a duty of care towards him now. Someone has to put an arm around his shoulder, and make sure he’s OK, and it was good to hear that Joe Root and Ben Stokes have done just that.
As things stand, I don’t see how he can play in Friday’s third Test, when England will need him to be on top of his game. If he turns around and says, ‘Look, I had a meltdown, I’ve got it out of my system, and I’m ready to play,’ that’s different. But it’s clear that he feels extremely hurt by the reaction to what he did.
And let’s be clear. He made a big mistake. With all the work the ECB and others have put into creating this biosecure environment, it could have proved costly to all levels of English cricket. But we all make mistakes. He’s served his punishment. We should move on.
Some criticism is part and parcel of being a professional sportsman. You’re cock of the walk one minute, winning a World Cup final for your country, then people are on your back because you’re struggling with the Kookaburra on flat pitches in New Zealand.
And because Jofra has this beautifully relaxed action, when he’s not bowling at 95mph, it’s easy for some to accuse him of lacking interest.
But as for the nastier stuff he’s had to deal with on Twitter, I just can’t understand what goes through some people’s heads. Some of the stuff I’ve seen recently has been plain horrible – and it’s made me question whether I want to be on social media myself.
No one should have to deal with that. And I repeat: my main feeling is one of sympathy with a young lad who 18 months ago very few pepole had heard of. Suddenly, he’s thrust into the limelight.
It’s up to the English game to give him the support he needs.