Michael Holding has strongly criticised Jofra Archer after the England bowler breached Covid-19 protocols by driving home in between two Test matches against West Indies.
Archer was kicked out of the England team for the second Test at Old Trafford starting on Thursday after he made a 100-mile detour to his flat in Hove, East Sussex as the players travelled from Southampton to Manchester.
The Test series is being played within strict bio-secure protocols and Archer’s journey apparently to visit his girlfriend broke the rules.
Jofra Archer was kicked out of the England team for the second Test against West Indies after making a 100-mile detour to his home in Hove when he should have driven to Manchester
West Indian legend Michael Holding wasn’t impressed by Jofra Archer’s actions after the England bowler breached strict bio-secure protocols by driving to his home
Holding mentioned Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island as an example of ‘sacrifice’, not Archer having to stay within the bio-secure bubble for a few weeks
Mandela pictured in the Robben Island cell he occupied, with US President Bill Clinton in 1998
And West Indian legend Holding, speaking as a Sky Sports pundit, didn’t hold back in his criticism not only of Archer’s actions but the England team’s travel logistics.
‘I have no sympathy at all. I don’t understand why people can’t just do what is required,’ Holding said.
‘Talking about sacrifices – Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a little cell and he did nothing wrong – that is a sacrifice.’
He added: ‘I just want to ask a few questions of the ECB and these protocols, though. I understand that protocols should be put in place but they should be a little bit more logical.
‘Why aren’t the England team travelling on a bus? If they have already passed the Covid test and everyone is together, they have six matches and are moving from one venue to another, why aren’t they just all on a bus?
‘Why are they allowed to travel by car? People need to just think a bit.’
Speaking on Sky Sports, Holding was critical of England’s decision to travel individually by cars rather than together on a bus as they went from Southampton to Manchester
Archer drove from the Ageas Bowl to his home in Hove before heading up to Manchester
Former England captain Michael Vaughan also slammed Archer’s actions when his team-mates – and their opponents from West Indies – are all making sacrifices.
He said on Test Match Special: ‘He is a silly, silly lad.
‘I look at the West Indies, what they have given up to come here. They arrived on June 8 from the Caribbean and have come to a country that has been hit by Covid more than most.
‘They had to live at Old Trafford for two and a half weeks, looking out over a cricket ground, and then get the bus down to the Ageas Bowl and again look out over a ground for a few days.
‘I also look at players in the England team who have kids. Jimmy Anderson’s two girls live two miles away (from Emirates Old Trafford), how tempting would it have been for him to nip home to see his kids?
‘A number of the players have families and kids at home and must have been tempted on Monday, on the journey from Southampton to Manchester, to nip home and see their loved ones.’
Archer bowled in the nets at Old Trafford on Tuesday ahead of the second of three Tests
The players drove from the Ageas Bowl near Southampton to Old Trafford in Manchester – a journey of 227 miles lasting about four hours if the most direct route is taken
The detour from the Ageas Bowl to Archer’s home in Hove added another 100 miles to the trip
Vaughan believes Archer’s absence might extend to at least the third Test by way of punishment, but sounded a note of caution about the 25-year-old’s state of mind.
‘I don’t think they will play him next week. There has to be a little bit of a kick-back in terms of Jofra, to realise he can’t make these mistakes and all of a sudden walk straight back into the England team,’ said Vaughan.
‘With the amount of competition he may have to wait a few Test matches to get his place back. He has broken rules and will be criticised but if he is going to be sat in his room on his own for five days on his own – I hope he is not left alone.
‘I hope there is communication, an aspect of people realising he has made a mistake but they have to look after his well-being. He is a young kid who has made a silly mistake and England will miss him, he is a silly lad.’
Former England batsman Michael Atherton said Archer had been ‘foolish’ in his action and could have thrown the whole Test summer into jeopardy.
He said on Sky: ‘It’s very foolish for a number of reasons – one it’s cost him a place in the team, second it’s thrown England’s plans into disarray, a vital Test match that they must win to try and win this series.
Archer pictured in a net session at Old Trafford before news of his breach came out
‘Thirdly, it’s put at risk all the work the ECB have done. These six Test matches, three against West Indies and three against Pakistan, they had to do a tremendous amount of work to get these matches on.
‘The protocols might seem very severe but they had to put them in place to get Government approval for them to happen.
‘Each of these games are worth £20m in broadcast money to the ECB, £180m over the whole summer [including one-day games], so they can’t afford for players to break protocol.
‘He has apologised profusely and that will be the end of it. He’s been foolish and it’s cost him his place.
‘Some sympathy in that regard but the rules are there for everybody and the rules are there because of the vital nature of putting these Test matches on.
Archer speaks with England coach Chris Silverwood during the team’s new session on Tuesday
‘In these unusual circumstances you have to make the odd sacrifice. In the end, he has been very foolish.’
West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite said on TMS: ‘For me, as a personal friend, I’m disappointed, not only in what Jofra’s done, but the scrutiny you get from the media.
‘There has been talk before about his attitude and his laissez-faire way of going about things, which often discredits what he does on the field.
‘I just want to see his cricket do the talking, more than the concerns – which I think are misplaced – about his character. His tweeting, his social media, his quirky posts: that is Jofra Archer.
‘As a cricketer myself, there are things outside of cricket that people would not agree with. People look to cricketers to set examples in life.
‘He’s not there for your son or daughter to look up to. He’s there to live his life and do what he does best.
‘That said, it does not excuse what he does. It’s disappointing for me, as a personal friend, the backlash he will get.’
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