Root says Archer is fine to play second Test after alleged racist abuse
England captain Joe Root revealed Jofra Archer is “absolutely fine” to feature in the second Test against New Zealand, just days after the paceman was the subject of alleged racist abuse.
Authorities are still searching for an individual who, according to Archer, made “racial insults” as he left the field on the final day of England’s innings-and-65-run defeat in Mount Maunganui.
The boards of both countries are investigating the claim but Archer has already had an apology from New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White, while Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said what happened was “horrific”.
Archer says he has drawn a line under the incident, and when asked if there were any worries about his availability at Hamilton later this week as England look to level the series, Root responded: “He’ll be absolutely fine to play.
“He’s OK. Obviously there’s no place for that anywhere and you don’t expect it anywhere near a cricket ground. He seems good in himself – his jolly, happy self – in practice.
“Everyone has made sure he’s OK and let him know we have his back and we’re supporting him. But yes, he’s dealt with it very well.”
It has been a busy past few months for the 24-year-old, who was one of the standout performers in both England’s historic World Cup win as well as the drawn Ashes series.
Root added: “He’s dealt with so much already for such a young man. It’s impressive to see his attitude and how he continues to stay generally pretty level.”
Root’s deputy Ben Stokes was born and raised in New Zealand until leaving with his family to move to England at 12 years old, and the all-rounder insists the actions of a rogue troublemaker are not reflective of the country.
Stokes said: “It’s a shame because that doesn’t represent what New Zealand is about as a country whatsoever.
“I think what New Zealand represents is how much support Jofra’s had, not just from the New Zealand cricket team but New Zealand in general after that incident.
“It just shouldn’t be happening in a sporting environment whatsoever. Guys are out there, trying to perform and give 100 per cent for their countries. To receive abuse like that is a horrific thing.”
Archer wrote in the Daily Mail on Wednesday: “The first thing I want to say about what happened towards the end of the Test at Mount Maunganui is that I’m over it. I’ve left what happened at the ground and I’ve moved on.
“But I found the incident a real shame. When you come to another country, you half expect fans to have a go at your cricket.
“If someone wants to shout at me and tell me I’m bowling badly, that’s fine. I may not agree but it’s fine. It’s part of the experience of being a touring cricketer.
“To hear racism, though — that’s another matter. There is no time or place for it in any walk of life, let alone cricket. It’s just not called for.”