Archer had to undergo a five-day isolation period for breaking bio-secure protocols before the second Test against West Indies in Manchester. His decision to break protocol – he took a detour home while driving from Southampton to Manchester – has been widely criticised, with former captain Michael Atherton calling it “very foolish”.
However, the criticism crossed a line on social media, where Archer said he received racist abuse during that period of isolation. He escalated the matter to the ECB after deciding “enough is enough”.
Ali, writing in his column for The Guardian, revealed he’d seen some of those messages, and said they were “absolutely horrendous”. “He is a very active person on social media, and while I moved away from it a while back, I would never tell anyone to do the same,” Ali wrote. “But it has to be said, I have seen some of the messages he has received and they are absolutely horrendous.
“This isn’t about being thick-skinned. No one should have to tolerate racism. And I think people need calling out here. Maybe they should make it mandatory that social media accounts have names and faces on them. We should know who is saying these things.”
Even outside of abuse, when it comes criticism on the cricket, Ali said social media can be relentless. “In terms of messages that criticise your cricket, I have been through a bit of that and over time you realise that quite often the people just don’t have a Scooby about the sport. And when it comes to Jofra, we are talking about a potential superstar here.
“Archer may still be young, thrillingly unusual, and a gift to the English game. But while this was a rookie error, he’s no rookie.”@Phil_Wisden on why Jofra Archer can’t afford any more rejections of the script.https://t.co/JbEOstHP7w
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) July 17, 2020
“He is only nine Tests into his England career, already has three five-wicket hauls and there is so much more to come. He is a fast learner, and after 15 Tests, 20 Tests, 30 Tests he will have grown and grown into the five-day game. Trust me, he’s going to be amazing.”
Ali will be England’s vice-captain for the three-ODI series against Ireland, starting on July 30 at The Ageas Bowl.