A frightening video of Jofra Archer terrorising second XI batsmen in county cricket has sparked backlash from Aussie great Dean Jones.
Archer staked his claim for a debut in the second Test of the Ashes with six wickets and a century during a dominant display for Sussex's second XI on Tuesday.
With Jimmy Anderson ruled out with a calf injury, England sent Archer off to get some much-needed red-ball practice, and the second XI fixture was the only real option.
The 24-year-old dispelled doubts about his fitness with first-innings figures of 6-27 from 12.1 overs, including four maidens, before producing a superb knock of 108.
One particular clip of Archer sending down a thunderous bouncer caught the attention of the cricket world.
Jofra Archer bowling rockets for Sussex second xi 🚀— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 6, 2019
Wonder why the non-striker doesn’t seem keen on the single? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/NWXU2NiTd2
He also struck one young batsman in the grille of his helmet, and Jones didn’t like what he was seeing.
“I am sorry but ECB contracted players should not be playing 2nd XI cricket,” Jones tweeted in response to the bouncer video.
“Never liked it when our guys did it in Australia either with Hazlewood and Starc!”
I am sorry but ECB contracted players should not be playing 2nd XI cricket. Never liked it when our guys did it in Australia either with Hazlewood and Starc! https://t.co/dC6HRCinOT— Dean Jones AM (@ProfDeano) August 6, 2019
Jones said it was “bloody dangerous” to have someone of Archer’s calibre playing against second XI players, especially given the majority of the Gloucestershire batsmen were 20 or younger.
“I played county cricket. I captained Derby. I know what guys can do and can’t do,” Jones said.
“This is not the platform for these guys to prove their fitness. It’s bulls**t”.
Players of less standard... bloody dangerous! Centre wicket practice is not hard Dean. https://t.co/O0m02zfJ9M— Dean Jones AM (@ProfDeano) August 6, 2019
Rob, this is not the platform for these guys to prove their fitness. Centre wicket training is better or a first class match. The 2nd XI is about giving the young guys a chance and an opportunity. #IMO https://t.co/ueJNUmTO1x— Dean Jones AM (@ProfDeano) August 6, 2019
Rob.. I think I am qualified to make an opinion.. you don’t like it.. cool. Unfollow. But Archer only reason is to prove his fitness. What happens if he broke a finger fielding or batting? The reason is to prove his fitness.. not the right platform bud. Sorry... unfollow anytime https://t.co/SDdCXZuTgU— Dean Jones AM (@ProfDeano) August 6, 2019
Archer odds-on to play second Test
Archer was left out of the crushing first Test defeat to Australia after playing through the pain of a side strain in his country's successful World Cup campaign.
His performance against the youthful Gloucestershire side gives England a timely boost ahead of next week's Lord's Test following their heavy 251-run defeat in the series opener and the loss of Anderson.
Anderson was always expected to miss next week's clash having bowled just four overs on the first morning before pulling up with a problem in his right calf.
The 37-year-old, England's record wicket-taker, was a bit-part player thereafter, managing only two brief cameos with the bat.
The ECB said his fitness will now be monitored "on an ongoing basis", raising question marks over whether he will be seen again in the series.
Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie had backed his player ahead of the game, saying Archer is "100 per cent fit" and "must play" against Australia in London.
"I'll be completely honest and I might be biased as coach at Sussex but I was surprised he didn't play the first Test to be perfectly blunt. He should have played," the Australian told Talksport.
"All this stuff about his side, look, he's 100 per cent fit, he's fine and ready to go.
"Personally I think England missed a trick by not playing him but he'll certainly play at Lord's.
"For me, pick a guy when he's in form, going well so for me it's a no-brainer.
"He must play this second Test. He adds another dimension to this England bowling attack - he's got pace, bounce, movement off the seam, through the air."