Jofra Archer cops 'brutal' reality check amid ugly abuse saga

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Jofra Archer at cricket training with the England Test team.
Jofra Archer recently revealed his struggles around being in the media spotlight. Pic: Getty

Jofra Archer's struggles about being in the media spotlight have not gone down well with former captain, Michael Vaughan.

The England fast bowler was the subject of scrutiny in England after being ruled out of the second Test match against the West Indies in Manchester for breaching coronavirus protocols.

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Both teams have been living in "bio-secure bubble" sites at the Ageas Bowl, the venue for last week's first Test, and Emirates Old Trafford, where the final two matches of the series are taking place.

Archer broke the rules by going home to Hove on Monday, during which time he met with an unnamed individual from outside the "bubble".

His indiscretion followed England's four-wicket loss in the first Test at Southampton last week, before the team travelled to Manchester.

He was then left out of the second Test that England won off the back of more Ben Stokes heroics, with Archer self-isolating in an onsite hotel room at Old Trafford for five days.

Writing for the Daily Mail, Archer revealed that he's been having a hard time coping with the media scrutiny that's accompanied his slip-up.

“When I walked outside of my room for the first time since being placed into self-isolation for breaking the COVID-19 protocols, I heard the cameras clicking with every single step I took. The whole spectacle made me feel uneasy,” Archer wrote.

“I spoke briefly to the doctor about how I’m feeling and also to Ben Stokes on Monday night. Ben tried to advise me on how to deal with being in the spotlight of international sport. He vowed to back me and support me.

“Now, I need to be 100 per cent mentally right so that I can throw myself into my cricket this week.”

The fast bowler says he is finding it hard to adjust to life in the spotlight, seemingly having his every move dissected in the media.

“To be straight, if I play and don’t bowl 90 miles an hour, it’s going to be news. If I don’t bowl 90 miles per hour for long enough, it’s going to be news. If I don’t put my left sock on first, it’s going to be news,” Archer wrote.

“This week has showed me that whatever I do will be a focus of attention. If I sneeze too hard, it’s going to be headlines.

“Take two wickets and everyone is back on the bandwagon again. It’s a fickle, fickle world we live in.”

Seen here, former England captain Michael Vaughan has given Jofra Archer some important advice.
Michael Vaughan says Jofra Archer needs to have thicker skin when it comes to criticism. Pic: Getty

Former England skipper Vaughan has since hit back at Archer's sentiments, insisting it is all part and parcel of being a professional sports star.

Vaughan also disputed the England quick's suggestion that hordes of camera people were following his every move.

Vaughan says Archer needs to develop ‘rhino skin’

“There were only four photographers allowed in the biobubble in Manchester. Only one of them was at nets, and he worked for the agency that is a commercial partner of the England & Wales Cricket Board. It was not a horde of paparazzi,” Vaughan wrote in The Telegraph.

“It was just one sports photographer taking pictures of him from a distance having a net, so it is not true that cameras were trailing him. If that was in his mind, it is a real worry because it shows he thinks all eyes are on him.”

Archer also claims he was racially abused by cricket fans online after his virus indiscretion.

It prompted another warning from Vaughan that the paceman needs to develop thicker skin and pay less attention to critics.

“If he is going to spend his life on social media then sometimes it will not be pretty,” Vaughan wrote.

“I don’t give a damn about the abuse. I get abused 25-30 times a day. But I am at the age when I don’t care.

“Jofra takes it to heart, so my advice is stay off it when you have made a mistake.

“Professional sport is brutal. You need a rhino skin because hour to hour your performance is analysed. That is why only the mentally toughest and best survive for a long period of time.”

A disciplinary hearing chaired by England managing director Ashley Giles on Friday decided an "undisclosed" fine and a written warning amounted to sufficient punishment, with the 25-year-old Archer's "impeccable record" counting in his favour.

Having missed the second Test, Archer is now available to play in this week's deciding third and final Test.