Jofra Archer says he felt “bad” about gashing Alex Carey’s chin with a bouncer in England’s World Cup semi-final win victory Australia but will not dial down his aggression against New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday.
Carey needed stitches in the wound after a rising ball by Archer knocked his helmet off. England’s new fast-bowling sensation also took Aaron Finch’s wicket lbw with this first ball of the Edbgaston match. It took Archer a while to choose “bad” as the word to describe his feelings about Carey’s injury and Australia will face more of the same in the Ashes.
“Sometimes you don't always mean to hit them,” Archer said. “It can be a wicket-taking ball or a dot ball. When it hits them you feel a little bit, err... bad for doing it, but it's cricket and I don't think he'll be the last person to get hit.”
Australia’s decision to bat first placed England at a potential disadvantage but the early bowling of Archer and Chris Woakes tore through Finch’s top order. Archer said: “Yeah I think we probably would have batted first, for real. But we bowled first and got the work done.” Of his own dismissal of Finch, he said: “It definitely pushed the team, emotions were definitely flying after that. I think everyone was just a lot more focused and switched on.”
Short balls are a vital part of Archer’s armoury. “I try to use my two bouncers every over anyway,” he said. “It wasn't just a set plan. I do it all the time.”
His calmness is also an asset. Archer, who has 19 wickets for the tournament, was asked about butterflies: “No, not really. You get that feeling, even today when we were at breakfast and, I may be wrong, but I don’t think anyone looked nervous. Everyone just looked focused by the time we got into the ground. So it’s those little things that make you feel like the guys are really ready.
“I just think I’ve always been like this. I try not to get nervous because then you end up doing stuff that you’re not really supposed to do. So I think the calmer you are the better you are in the situation.”
Archer has been carrying a slight side injury but says it is not hindering him: “I keep soldiering on. I’ve been like this for a few games now, it’s not got any worse.”
Social media is another fertile hunting ground. During this World Cup, a series of eerily accurate Archer tweets have resurfaced predicting events in this tournament (example - “All batsmen buy 2 helmets cause when we meet they’ll be in use”). Archer says: “I have seen it but I don’t know why this should be a big thing. It’s just social media. That’s all it’s there for. I used to do it when I was just watching cricket back home. I wasn’t even in England for half of that stuff. They are just recycled. Some are from series, some from World Cups, stuff that just happened.”
Another old tweet, given fresh life, was: “Finch goes.”