Jofra Archer has it all, they say. We presume they mean diplomacy, humility, maturity and perspective. Amid all the politics and arduously manufactured controversy, there’s a simple truth here: Archer seems like the kind of guy you’d want playing for your country.
We don’t know him all that well yet, but to us he seems like a guy who’s simply happy to be playing cricket. And we like that. For all his achievements in the IPL and the Big Bash, he still talks about how grateful he is to have been given a chance at Sussex. Chris Jordan gets a thank you in pretty much every interview you’ll read.
Nor is Archer remotely big-headed about the fact that he happens to be a brilliant bowler. In last month’s Wisden Cricket Monthly, Jo Harman asked him about the perception that the game comes easily to him. “If you train hard then what you’re training for should look easy,” he replied.
These are the words of a man who works at his craft. He knows he has to earn his spot and he doesn’t yet seem put out if he doesn’t get in. “Of course I want to play in the World Cup, but if it doesn’t happen for me I’m not going to get upset,” he said earlier this week. “I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” he added.
Who knows. Maybe the man’s a conniving psychopath who’s presenting himself as a fine and decent human being purely to inveigle his way into the nation’s affections and World Cup squad.
Or maybe he’s just a cricketer who’s not an arsehole.
It’s easy to be scornful of the ECB’s slightly desperate yearning for ‘role models,’ envisaging faceless dullards shorn of any endearing rough edges. But it’s also true that it’s easier to enjoy sport if you feel something for the characters who are taking part.
As far as we can tell, there is much to like about Jofra Archer and therefore a greater number of positive emotions to be harvested when he does well. Throw in the fact that he’s good enough to play for England and on balance it would be nice if England kept picking him.