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England v Pakistan

‘Caught in two minds’ – Darren Gough’s solution to Archer’s slow-pitch woes

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Former England pacer Darren Gough, speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, pointed out how Jofra Archer can become more effective on slower pitches by following in the footsteps of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Archer remained wicketless as Anderson, who finished with a five-for, Broad and Chris Woakes combined to pick eight wickets and bowl Pakistan out for 273 in the first innings of the third Test.

Archer consistently clocked around 90mph and left the Pakistan batsmen in visible discomfort, even hitting Mohammad Rizwan on the helmet – the seventh time he hit a batsman on the helmet, the most by any bowler since his debut last year according to CricViz.

Gough, while also praising the Sussex pacer, explained that by pitching the ball further up, like Anderson, Broad and Woakes, he can become much more effective on slower pitches. The weight of expectations to bowl consistently in the 90mph region has him “caught in two minds” and as a result, he “ends up bowling too short”.

“I’m a massive, massive fan of Jofra Archer,” he said, “I think he has so much potential. I don’t think he’s reached it yet, he’s still trying to work out his own body, how he’s going to be used by Joe Root to get the best out of him.

“If you look at his career so far, he has struggled on pitches that haven’t had that extra pace. The warm-up matches and the Tests in New Zealand, he struggled and the pitches he’s played on this year, when it has been slow, he’s not quite got his lengths right.

“If you look at the guys who have got the wickets, your [Stuart] Broad, [Chris] Woakes and [James] Anderson: guess what? It’s pitching the ball up. Just because you can bowl at 90mph-plus doesn’t mean you have to bowl two yards shorter than everyone else.

“The batsmen, in the back of their mind, will be thinking, ‘That ball is coming down at me at 90mph’, whether it is pitched up or short. Put the ball in the right areas at whatever speed you bowl, and you’re going to create problems for the batsmen.

“I just think he has been caught in two minds in his head, people want him to bowl quickly and by doing that he has ended up bowling too short on the slower pitches we’ve played on.”

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