West Indies fast-bowling great Michael Holding believes Jofra Archer’s workload on debut during the second Ashes Test at Lord’s is “unsustainable”.
Archer consistently troubled the Australian batsmen with his shrewd variations in length and raw pace. The Barbados-born bowler forced the prolific Steve Smith off the field after bowling a vicious bouncer on day four, which prevented the former captain from batting in the fourth innings and has since ruled him out of the third Test at Headingley.
Marnus Labuschagne, Smith’s concussion substitute in Australia’s second innings, faced similar hostility but rose to score a gutsy half-century.
With Archer looking the most likely of England’s bowlers to propel them to victory, Holding believes the hosts over-bowled him, labelling it “abuse”, with the 24-year old bowling 22 of the 75 overs on the final day, returning figures of 3-32.
“Archer bowled a third of all the overs bowled – that’s a spinner’s quota,” the former Windies fast bowler told The Independent. “If you keep bowling him like this you will lose the 96mph delivery. He’ll still bowl fast, 90mph, but do you want to lose the express pace? It is not just about this match or the next, but next year and the one after that.”
“England need to be very careful with Archer. He is obviously very fit, as you could see with his recovery from the side strain. Like me, he is tall, not big and muscular. He relies on rhythm and looks very relaxed running in. All that is in his favour but it is not sustainable for England to use him like this in every match.”
“It’s abuse,” added Holding, who formed a fearsome fast-bowling battery with the likes of Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner during his playing days. “When I was bowling, we had three other quicks just as fast. We could share the burden.”
Holding compared Archer to fellow fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who has been a mainstay for South Africa across all formats. Rabada, 24, the same age as Archer, has bowled more than 7,000 overs in Test cricket – more than any comparable quick at the same age – but has been blighted by back trouble and forced to compromise on pace at times.
Archer is set to make his second Test appearance for England in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, which begins on Thursday.