Archer defends England’s rotation policy in hectic year


CHENNAI: Anyone criticising England’s much debated rotation policy has not spent time inside a bio-secure bubble to understand the toll its strict Covid-19 protocols takes on players’ mental health, fast bowler Jofra Archer said on Tuesday.

England are scheduled to play 17 Tests this year apart from the Twenty20 World Cup and other limited-over internationals and while their workload in a busy year is a concern, players have been urged to come forward if the mental strain is too much.

England rested Archer and all-rounder Ben Stokes for the Sri Lanka series and both return for the four-Test India series that begins on Friday in Chennai while Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood are rested for the first two tests.

“It’s going to be a long, long year. There are a few series coming up and body management will be important,” Archer told reporters.

“Anyone that’s criticising [player rotation] has never stayed in a bubble. At the end of the day, humans are social people, especially when you’re not having a great game. There’s no escape, nowhere to go.

“The ECB has been great, making it a priority so you can come back fresh and ready to go. I know I’ll get my time away and focus on the job at hand. If it gets overbearing, there’s no shame in that, but right now I’m good to go.”

The four Tests are being played in bubbles in Chennai and Ahmedabad and though there is a possibility that fans will be allowed to attend, Archer said he was not getting his hopes up after playing at empty venues amid the pandemic.

“If it happens, I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said. “The last eight months have been crazy.

“They’ve made promises which have never come off so I’ll believe it when fans walk in through the gates.”