LONDON, CMC – India captain Virat Kohli has described Barbadian fast-bowling sensation Jofra Archer as “world class” and says he could be England’s “x-factor” in the ICC World Cup starting next week.
In recent years, Archer has created a stir in world cricket with his pace and hostility, and recently finished a successful second season in the lucrative Indian Premier League for Rajasthan Royals.
The 24-year-old, who holds a British passport through is father, became eligible to represent England in March after the England and Wales Cricket Board reduced its residency period from seven years to three.
He was then fast-tracked into the England World Cup squad after playing a mere three One-Day Internationals earlier this month.
“The way he’s come about in the IPL the last couple of years I’ve seen him, there’s good reason why he was fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like the World Cup,” said Kohli, regarded as the finest batsman in the world at present.
“I think he’s probably going to be their X-factor, because he holds a skillset that’s very different from anyone else. He can generate a lot of pace, which can be intimidating. You don’t really expect that because of his run-up.”
He added: “And the way he’s built, he’s a great athlete. He’s going to be a delight to watch in the World Cup. I personally would be watching his bowling as well – whatever I’ve seen of him, he’s been very, very impressive.”
Born and raised in Barbados, Archer played a few matches for West Indies Under-19s in 2013 but focussed his efforts on representing England after he was overlooked for the ICC Youth World Cup the following year.
He was signed by English County Sussex in 2016 and an outstanding all-round season in 2017 saw him land lucrative contracts in the Australian Big Bash and the IPL.
In an interview earlier this week, Archer said taking the prized wicket of Kohli was high on his World Cup agenda, a comment the Indian star said was a “big compliment”.
“Did he say that? I had no idea – that’s news to me. We don’t really focus on these things. We don’t really focus on whether an individual wants to get you out or whether you’re spoken of more or things like that,” he explained.
“Our focus is on contributing to the team. I take a lot of pride in performing for the team, and making impact performances in every game. If Jofra said that, it’s a big compliment. Because he himself is a world-class bowler.”
England, the number one ODI side and heavy World Cup favourites, meet India at Edgbaston on June 30.