Jofra Archer has received the seal of approval from cricket’s biggest global star with India captain Virat Kohli hailing the England newcomer as a potential World Cup X-factor.
Archer has only played three one-day internationals, and taken the same number of wickets, but has bowled with sufficient pace and verve to cause a major stir ahead of the tournament.
Prior to qualifying for England the Barbados-born quick made waves as a fixture of Twenty20 domestic circuit, catching Kohli’s eye in the Indian Premier League.
Earlier this week Archer named Kohli as one of the wickets he most wanted to take and the respect is clearly mutual.
Speaking at the tournament captains’ launch, Kohli was effusive in his praise of the 24-year-old.
“If Jofra said that it’s a big compliment as he himself is a world-class bowler,” he said.
“I think he’s going to be the X-factor because he has all the skill sets and he’s very different from anyone else.”
Kohli is not only the best batsman in the world he also has 64m social media followers on Twitter and Instagram.
When he talks people listen and if England harboured lingering hopes of unleashing Archer as any kind of secret weapon they are surely over now.
“He’s played all round the world and done well so there’s a good reason why he’s been fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like the World Cup,” Kohli continued.
“He can generate a lot of pace, which can be intimidating and you don’t really expect that from his run-up.
“He’s just a great athlete and I’m sure the England team will be delighted to have him and he will be exciting to watch at the World Cup.
“I personally will be watching his bowling because he is really impressive.”
Kohli noted the growing talk around the possibility of a 500-run innings at the tournament and England’s belief that they can raise their current world record mark of 481.
“They seem to be obsessed with getting to 500 before anyone else,” he said. “They smash it from ball one and for the full 50 overs.”
England captain Eoin Morgan, meanwhile, reflected on how much it would mean to lead his team out in the final on July 14.
“Every captain sitting on the couch here would lose their left leg to play in the final,” he said.
“To play a World Cup final at the home of cricket...everyone here would have dreamed about that as a kid.”