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England v Pakistan

Butcher slams Archer for claiming Manchester pitch wasn’t one to ‘bend your back on’

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Mark Butcher, the former England batsman, has slammed Jofra Archer for claiming the Emirates Old Trafford wicket for the first Test against Pakistan wasn’t one to “to bend your back on”.

Archer had insisted that the Old Trafford wicket didn’t have enough assistance for the pacers, which was why he wasn’t crossing the 90 mph mark, as is generally expected of him.

“This wicket is not a wicket you’re really going to try to bend your back on,” Archer had said after the second day’s play. “We bowled first and there was a little bit there in the morning but eventually as the game’s gone on…actually it’s spinning on day two so that says a lot about the wicket right now.”

Archer’s comments didn’t quite go down well with Butcher, who cited Pakistan’s teenage sensation Naseem Shah‘s example to highlight why the Englishman should concentrate on bowling fast, especially when bowling alongside three mores seamers in Stuart Broad, James Anderson, and Chris Woakes.

“I wish he wouldn’t have opened his mouth,” Butcher said on ESPNcricinfo. “The very next day the 17-year-old [Naseem] runs up and bowls 90 miles an hour every ball. And they’ve only got a three-man pace attack. All of these things are very much dependent on the circumstances you find yourselves in.

“If you are one of four fast bowlers and you are capable of bowling very, very quickly, then I would suggest that your job, as one of four, knowing that you are not going to get through 30 overs in a day, is to bowl very, very quickly. That’s just…if he was one of three and he had to go up and down the gears a little bit depending on the situation of the game then he is absolutely right. But this kind of speaks of the lack of experience that he has in international cricket.

“As one of four, if you are the fastest, you bowl fast, that’s it. And you certainly don’t go out there and say that it’s not a pitch to bend your back on and then watch a bloke run in and bowl at speed of light the next day, hit people on the head and explode one off Ollie Pope in the first innings. That’s just daft. I think he’s learning the hard way.

“He has made two massive errors in this thing and there is a lot of goodwill, particularly from me towards Jof. The mistake about going home – pick your moments to be a buffoon, that really wasn’t one of them – and then saying it’s not a pitch to bend your back on as one of four. PR the man please, someone.”

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