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Why Chris Woakes is ahead of Jofra Archer in English conditions

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, the panel discuss why Chris Woakes is a more effective bowler in English conditions than Jofra Archer.

Woakes finished the Test series against West Indies with 11 wickets in two matches, picking a five-wicket haul in the final innings of the third Test. Archer, on the other hand, managed only four wickets from his two games. In the podcast, host Yas Rana points out that “since the Ashes, Woakes has taken 18 wickets at 20 in four Tests, Jofra has taken 12 wickets at 48.”

Expanding on the stat, Phil Walker, Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief, said that Archer doesn’t get enough lateral movement in English conditions while Woakes does, which makes the latter much more effective at home. On top of that, he believes that, while Archer has that “extra gear” in his repertoire, he couldn’t bring it to full use in the West Indies series.

“I think in English conditions, Woakes is, at the moment, a more effective bowler than Archer,” said Walker. “Archer only gets a very, very small amount of lateral movement, and if he is not bowling express quick and there are myriad reasons why that is – as we have covered many times before, the last of which is some spurious notion of his attitude – but the reality is that Woakes hits the spot time after time. Now Archer is an accurate bowler but Woakes gets a lot more out of the pitch and he gets a lot more lateral movement and the stats are there to bare that out.”

“Archer is kind of a [Pat] Cummins of English attack. If we actually look on paper, the amount, the percentage, degree of movement he gets is very slim, as with Cummins. So, at the moment, Woakes is probably a more effective bowler day in, day out, I would say, than Jofra. Obviously Jofra has that extra gear but we haven’t seen that that much in this series, there have been other things going on of course. But they do hunt as a pack – it’s now seven Test matches since an opposition player made a hundred, since the second Test in New Zealand.”

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