Jofra Archer has received the seal of approval from cricket’s biggest global star, with India captain Virat Kohli hailing the England newcomer as a potential World Cup X factor.
Archer has only played three one-day internationals, and taken the same number of wickets, but has bowled with sufficient pace and verve to cause a major stir ahead of the tournament.
Prior to qualifying for England the Barbados-born quick made waves as a fixture of Twenty20 domestic circuit, catching Kohli’s eye in the Indian Premier League.
Earlier this week Archer named Kohli as one of the wickets he most wanted to take and the respect is clearly mutual.
Speaking at the tournament captain’s launch – an event which saw all 10 skippers lined up side by side on leather sofas in a Stoke Newington warehouse space – Kohli was effusive in his praise of the 24-year-old.
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“If Jofra said that it’s a big compliment as he himself is a world-class bowler,” he said.
“I think he’s going to be the X factor because he has all the skill sets and he’s very different from anyone else.”
Kohli is not only the best batsman in the world he also has 64million social media followers on Twitter and Instagram. When he talks, people listen and if England harboured lingering hopes of unleashing Archer as any kind of secret weapon, they are surely over now.
“He’s played all round the world and done well so there’s a good reason why he’s been fast-tracked into playing for England in a tournament like the World Cup,” Kohli continued.
“He can generate a lot of pace which can be intimidating and you don’t really expect that from his run-up. He’s just a great athlete and I’m sure the England team will be delighted to have him and he will be exciting to watch at the World Cup.
“I personally will be watching his bowling because whatever I’ve seen of him he is really impressive.”
As hosts, favourites and world number ones, England received plenty of plaudits at the launch. A local schoolgirl asked each panellist to name the player they most coveted from their rivals and, while several demurred, Pakistan’s Sarfaraz Ahmed chose Jos Buttler and Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne picked Ben Stokes.
Eoin Morgan declared himself happy with his side as it was but admitted he would happily take Ricky Ponting from the Australian coaching staff.
Aaron Finch, who leads Australia’s defence, was first to underline England’s status as most-fancied, declaring them “definite favourites”.
Kohli, meanwhile, noted the growing talk around the possibility of a 500-run innings at the tournament and England’s belief that they can raise their current world record mark of 481.
“They seem to be obsessed with getting to 500 before anyone else,” he said. “They smash it from ball one and for the full 50 overs.”
Morgan spoke for the group when he reflected on how much it would mean to be one of the two leaders left standing by the time the competition concludes at Lord’s on July 14
“It would be extremely cool. Every captain sitting on the couch here would lose their left leg to play in the final,” he said.
“To play a World Cup final at the home of cricket…everyone here would have dreamed about that as a kid.”News Now - Sport News