England have seen a little bit of a warning sign regarding Jofra Archer in the Old Trafford Test – and we really do need to look after him.
It does not mean him not playing in any Tests. But for me, he is being used as a ‘poster-boy’ and since the World Cup final, he has gone from pillar to post.
I believe it is catching up with him. He is in the limelight, but we have got to treat him like a sportsman and cricket player and not like someone who has just won Love Island or ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ where someone has three weeks of fame and they get as much money as they can.
We have to remember that Jofra is going to get a million-pound contract from the ECB shortly and we just have to be careful we do not bleed him dry.
I turned up to Old Trafford at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Archer was still at the ground and Australia had almost finished their practice session. He was still there as he had been doing interviews.
He is a young lad and there is a lot going on in his life. He just needs to bowl fast for England.Darren Gough
He is a young lad and there is a lot going on in his life. He just needs to bowl fast for England.
He bowled at 90mph on his Test debut and the problem is that once you do it and have a great debut, pressure is put on your shoulders. I had the same on my debut and people were calling me the ‘next Beefy’ after it as I got 65 with the bat.
There is now expectancy that every time Archer gets the ball, they want him to bowl at 90 mph. If he doesn’t get there, people say: ‘well, what is up with him, he must be tired.’
There has been a lot going on in the young man’s life. He gets a five-fer at Headingley and people think he is James Anderson already...
We have just got to make sure he is managed properly. The ECB will want their pound of flesh and the sponsors will want him as he is marketable. But we must be careful and monitor all his interview time etc.
Back to the Test and I was shocked with the selection of Craig Overton. I just wonder if it was based on the fact that the last time Steve Smith got a low score in a Test against England, it was against a pink-ball in Adelaide when he got him out in the first innings. But Chris Woakes – the man England have dropped – got him out in the second.
I know they have had some injuries with Olly Stone and Mark Wood not being available, but I do think we have a bit of a dilemma with the work having to be undertaken by Archer.
As for Smith, you have to wonder if he is human! His form is beyond ridiculous.
Against England, he’s brilliant, even though he has struggled in India. But since he has come back from his ban, he has looked so focused and just does not want to give his wicket away.
He battles it out and Marnus Labuschagne looks like he has the same mentality. It is impressive as it is old-school Test match batting and it is so good because you don’t see it very often.
Just as in football with Lionel Messi and Cristano Ronaldo fighting for the eye, we have Smith and Virat Kohli in cricket.
Smith can look very ugly at times and then hit some beautiful on-drives or a shot with no feet outside off stump with great hands.
Kohli is that beautiful on-the-eye player with technique and someone who can build an innings and can accelerate in one-day cricket and win games from nowhere. Here are two players who are battling out for one and two in the world and it is a question of who you prefer.
We used to have it with Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara and it is fascinating.
You just have to admire Smith’s mental strength. He was at rock-bottom 18 months ago when he got his ban.
Then there’s David Warner, it looks like it has totally affected him in the Tests. He looks mentally drained and Stuart Broad has him on toast.
But the problem is that Broad is bowling unbelievably well to left-handers, but has not got many right-handers like Smith.
With Smith, it is only really Archer who looks like getting him out by banging him out.
To be fair regarding Overton, he did look our best bowler in the first innings. He bowled decent lines and swung the ball out and had that inswinger as well and showed his skills after starting a bit nervously. It was decent control and he looked dangerous.
But I said before the start of the series that for England to win the Ashes, we need green pitches and I have not seen one yet.