There is one name reverberating in cricketing circles across the globe and that is Jofra Archer. He made his international debut only in May earlier this year. He played only a handful of ODIs, most of them in the World Cup before making his Test debut. And right from the get-go, Archer has been England’s go-to bowler. The impact that he has made has been remarkable.
However, this has come after successful stints in County cricket over the last few years. Archer made a name for himself playing for Sussex and later while playing for various T20 leagues across the globe. It was his red-ball skills that were very underrated. The Barbados-born fast bowler had picked up a lot of wickets for Sussex and had the ability to bowl long spells. He showed that in his debut Test match against Australia at Lord’s.
Archer didn’t pick up a heap of wickets on debut but made a huge impact. In just his third innings, he picked up his maiden five-wicket haul as he returned with figures of 6/45 against Australia in the third Ashes Test. He showed that he can be too hot to handle even when he’s not bowling at full tilt. Hence, here, we list out five batsmen who can bat well against Jofra Archer.
1. Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
The first name that will come up in a lot of people’s mind will be Virat Kohli. The Indian captain is one of the best batsmen across formats in the world at the moment. In fact, he is the No. 1 ODI and Test batsman in the ICC Rankings at the moment.
Kohli has shown that he has the ability to play the fast bowlers really well. He has proved his mettle on multiple away tours. Moreover, in the last 18 months, he has scored Test hundreds in some of the most difficult batting conditions. He scored tons in Centurion, Birmingham and Perth and was almost the lone warrior for the Indian team. He has been their best batsman by a distance.
The 30-year-old Delhi lad also conquered England and scored heavily there last year after a horrible tour in 2014. Thus, he showed that he can play the moving ball and maybe the best-equipped batsman in the Indian team to do so. Moreover, Kohli plays the short ball well and loves counter-attacking. Hence, Archer vs Kohli in Test cricket seems to be a mouth-watering clash but the latter has all the goods to come out on top.
2. Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
There is a constant debate about who is the best batsman in the world at the moment. That may be a debate for other formats or across formats, but in Test cricket, Steve Smith is a notch above everyone. The consistency the former Australian skipper has showed is simply outstanding. He averages 63.24 in the longest format which is second only to the great Sir Don Bradman.
Smith missed Test cricket for 16 months in between due to the ban he faced for the ball-tampering saga. However, it hardly seemed he was out of action for so long. The conditions, the opposition or the bowlers didn’t matter as Smith continued to pile on the runs. Opposition teams and bowlers may already be sick and tired of watching Smith bat.
England found it almost impossible to get him out in the 2017-18 Ashes down under and things haven’t changed much this time around. However, they did find an answer in Jofra Archer who troubled Smith quite a bit. It was Test cricket at its peak when the two faced each other. While Smith had answers for the most part, Archer was the only bowler who had him in trouble. In the end, Archer struck Smith on the back of the neck which ruled the former Aussie skipper with a concussion.
However, Smith is too good a batsman not to counter someone like Archer the next time they face each other. Thus, this is another riveting battle and we may not have to wait long for this one. Smith will be back for the fourth Test and if Archer remains fit, we may have another exciting contest.
3. Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: GettyImages)
Kane Williamson may be one of the calmest cricketers going around in world cricket today. The New Zealand skipper is unfazed and unperturbed even in the tensest and pressure situations. Moreover, he is the rock at No. 3 for the Kiwis in all formats.
Williamson has been a prolific run-getter across all three formats for some time now. He is among the best batsmen of the modern era. In fact, he may have one of the best techniques going around in world cricket at the moment. Be it white-ball or red-ball, Williamson has scored heavily.
The 29-year-old has the ability to counter the best bowling attacks in the world and has done that successfully too. He has a great defensive technique and can blunt out someone like Jofra Archer. He may not counter-attack like Smith or Kohli but he can counter the movement and even the extra bounce. Hence, Archer vs Williamson will surely be a battle of ice vs fire.
4. Babar Azam
Babar Azam. (Photo by Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
For someone who averages 35.28 in Test cricket and is yet to fully prove his worth in the longest format, Babar Azam’s name in this list might come as a surprise. However, he has shown that he can face some quality fast bowling in the toughest of conditions.
Azam’s Test career was off to a sedate and a sluggish start but in the last 18 months or so, he has picked up pace. In 2018, he scored 616 runs at an average of 56.00. Moreover, he was Pakistan’s best batsman on their tour to South Africa in the latter’s 2018-19 home season. The 24-year-old faced a top-quality and relentless bowling attack.
He faced the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier at full tilt. He countered them really well. Hence, Azam seems to have the game to face the best and Jofra Archer seems to be one of the best at the moment. Hence, this could be a very intriguing contest.
5. Dimuth Karunaratne
Dimuth Karunaratne. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)
Dimuth Karunaratne has been one of the most consistent Sri Lankan batsmen in the last three years or so. He has consistently scored runs at the top of the order and has been their best batsman in Test cricket.
In 2017, he scored over 1000 runs in the calendar year and hasn’t looked back. Last year, he averaged 46.44 while amassing 743 runs as Sri Lanka struggled for a large part of the year. He has continued his good form this year and has also become the Test and ODI captain. The left-handed opener has been at the forefront of everything in Sri Lankan cricket over the last six months.
Karunaratne is a pretty underrated batsman. He will quietly go about his work and pile on the runs. He can blunt out attacks really well. He can face both spin and pace equally well. Jofra Archer has troubled the Aussie left-handers and seems to love bowling to them. However, Karunaratne seems one batsman who can counter the Archer threat well. He can leave the ball well and is not too fazed even if runs come at a slow pace.
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