World Cup-winning England pace sensation Jofra Archer has opened up on his chronic back injury as a teenager, saying spending those two years on the sidelines were “dark times” as doctors feared he might not play cricket again. Archer had suffered the injury after making it to the West Indies U-19 level before his move to England in 2015. “Those were dark times to be honest, I spent two years out of cricket,” the pacer said in a Rajasthan Royals Podcast.
“You’re young and you want to play, you have got to make the most of your youth because before you know it, you’re 20, 21 or even 25 if you’re unlucky, and you’re still trialling and hoping to get a chance. “And then a lot of people don’t take chances on guys who are a little bit older,” he added.
Archer, who bowled the Super Over which won England the World Cup last year, said he was a “bit down” when doctors told him that he might not play again. “It felt like I was missing out on my golden years. The doctor told me if he didn’t see improvement, he couldn’t even see me playing club cricket, so I remember leaving the office that day and I was a little bit down,” he said.
“But I decided to rest and if the pain subsided, I would give it another go. And if it doesn’t work then I will go back to university and take another path in life. But luckily for me I got to do what I really wanted to do in the end.” The 25-year-old is currently one of the most sensational fast bowlers in international cricket, having also played a significant role in England drawing the Ashes last year.
It was his impressive debut at the 2018 IPL, which expedited his entry to the England team. However, Archer said he thought he won’t get to play any game in the T20 tournament as till then, he hadn’t turned up for England and lacked international exposure. The Barbados-born pacer was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 7.2 crore in the 2018 IPL auction.
“I watched it but I remember before I told Chrsi Jordan that I probably won’t play a game because I haven’t played any international cricket. I told him I’ll probably get picked up at my base price and I’ll probably spend eight weeks in India and not play any cricket,” he said.
Archer ended up snapping 15 wickets after playing 10 matches in his debut season. “When I saw the bidding start a few teams were going at it, and I was thinking ‘wow I’m actually going to get to go to India for sure’…,” he said. “In the end Rajasthan got me for a bit more than I thought they should have! But I was still grateful regardless, and then in the next few months I ended up being in India.” Archer gave displayed his batting skills too during the 2019 IPL when he remained not out on 27 off just 12 balls and added crucial 44 runs with Riyan Parag to help Rajasthan Royals snatch a thrilling three-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.
Archer said the innings contributed a lot to his batting. “…when me and Riyan brought the game home and I remember it was the last game we played before coming back to England and I remember just sitting on the plane buzzing because I actually got the chance to show what I can do,” he said.