Jofra Archer takes aim at friend Steve Smith ahead of Australia showdown

England v West Indies - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Jofra Archer is happy to call Steve Smith a pal, but insists there will be “nothing friendly” on the field during England’s crucial World Cup clash against Australia.

Archer shared a dressing room with Smith at this year’s Indian Premier League, playing for a Rajasthan Royals side that also included Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

The quartet joined forces throughout the Twenty20 competition, but will be on opposite sides for the remainder of the summer, starting at Lord’s on Tuesday and then carrying on through the upcoming Ashes series.

Smith and teammate David Warner have not had too many warm welcomes since arriving in England, with their recent return from year-long ball-tampering bans leading to a predictably hostile public reaction, and Archer insists any niceties from him will have to wait until after the contest.

England’s game face will most certainly be on after their surprise defeat to Sri Lanka, their second lapse of the competition and one that means there is precious little breathing space if they lose again.

Asked if he considered Smith a friend, Archer said: “Yes, and I’d like to think he considers me the same way as well.

“He’s a really good guy. But cricket is cricket and I guess it’s time to be friends after. Until the game is over, there will be nothing friendly about it.”

Booing from the stands has certainly not derailed Smith, or Warner for that matter, with both scoring heavily so far and the former skipper hitting a match-winning century in a warm-up clash against England in Southampton.

A blast of express pace might do the trick, though. Archer has already cranked it up to 95mph during the tournament and made a cheeky suggestion that Smith did not fancy facing him in practice during their time together.

England v Sri Lanka - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

Invited to offer some insider tips on bowling at the 30-year-old, he said: “To be honest, I didn’t bowl at him much.

“A lot of the guys probably don’t want to face me or (fellow quick) Oshane Thomas in the nets. They like the side-arm and the throw downs.

“But when you play with them you pick up on things you won’t normally notice when you’re just playing against them.

“So hopefully me and Ben can get together, I think we might bowl together at some point as well. We probably know what to do when he’s in.”

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