Jofra Archer has taken a circuitous route to earning his stripes, but is now regarded as one of the most versatile fast bowlers in the world.
When Archer made his debut in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on April 22 in the 2018 season, he was still a relative newcomer. His identity was that he had been a promising fast bowler for the West Indies U-19 team but had since then been engaged in a battle with a back injury.
His chances of making it to international cricket were not very bright back then, but he had shown signs of being an useful player in the 2017/18 season of the Big Bash League (BBL). Rajasthan Royals (RR) duly snapped him up before the IPL 2018 season for Rs 7.2 INR – 36 times his base price.
Archer missed the first few games of the season, making his IPL debut against Mumbai Indians (MI). He bowled an economical spell in his opening spell and then came back to take three wickets at the death. He finished with figures of 3/22 in 4 overs, as it became apparent RR had got a capable death-overs specialist for the season in Archer.
Archer also chipped in with a partnership with Krishnappa Gowtham in the chase as RR pulled off a last-over chase, beating MI by 3 wickets.
Archer was named the Man of the Match. “Jofra can bowl at 140+ and his pace and accuracy was amazing. He’s always thinking about wickets,” winning skipper Ajinkya Rahane said at the post-match presentation.
In RR’s very next match, Archer was on the money once more. He registered figures of 3/26 vs SunRisers Hyderabad. He would finish the season with 15 wickets.
He would only grow in stature in the 2019 IPL. Bowling at an economy rate of 6.76 in the 2019 season, Archer picked up 11 wickets – with a best of 3/15 – registered against Kings XI Punjab.
Days after the IPL 2019 season, he was picked in England’s 2019 World Cup squad and there has been no looking back for him since then.