|England v West Indies, third Test|
|Venue: Emirates Old Trafford Dates: 24-28 July|
|Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, highlights on BBC Two at 19:00 (19:15 on Saturday), live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.|
England’s Jofra Archer has described sport as “fickle” and revealed he has reported racist abuse on social media since missing the second Test against West Indies.
The fast bowler, 25, was fined for breaching bio-secure protocols while travelling between venues – but is available for Friday’s third Test.
“I know what I did was an error of judgement and I have suffered the consequences of that,” said Archer. “I haven’t committed a crime and I want to start feeling myself again.”
In a column with the Daily Mail, Archer says:
- Ben Stokes “vowed to back and support” him on dealing with the “spotlight of international sport”;
- He has come off social media as it is “unnecessary noise”;
- He has reported racist abuse on Instagram to the ECB;
- Went home to “drop off some stuff” and admits he made a mistake and has “done my time”.
Archer went through a five-day period of isolation after visiting his Hove home on Monday during his journey from Southampton, where the first Test was held, to Manchester. He has since returned a second negative coronavirus test and will now rejoin his team-mates before the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford, which starts on Friday.
England levelled the three-match series with a 113-run win on Monday.
“This week has showed me that whatever I do will be a focus of attention,” Archer added. “If I sneeze too hard it’s going to be headlines.
“To be straight, if I play and don’t bowl 90 miles an hour, it’s going to be news. If I don’t bowl 90 miles per hour for long enough, it’s going to be news. If I don’t put my left sock on first, it’s going to be news. I understand that is the scrutiny of playing at this level and being in that spotlight.”
Archer referenced the “expectations” on Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford – calling the 22-year-old a “wonderful, wonderful man” for his successful campaign on free school meals, but claiming “it’s forgotten” with “a few bad minutes on the football field”.
And Archer also said the racist abuse of Crystal Palace’s Ivory Coast forward Wilfried Zaha made him decide “enough is enough” on social media.
The bowler added: “The second innings in Southampton showed me how fickle cricket is.
“In the first innings, I hear I am this and that – overrated. Then, the second innings comes, I do well and it’s all: ‘He’s a great player.’ That’s cricket. Some days are good, some are bad. No-one is going to be amazing all the time. Sometimes I feel it’s not a fair world – really and truly.
“And I sense a lot of negativity. I have played eight Test matches. How can someone be overrated that has played just eight games?”
An ECB spokesperson said: “The racist message was brought to our attention by Jofra last week. We are supporting him as we have reported the message through the appropriate channels and authorities”.