Former Barbadian-born England fast bowler Gladstone Small admits he is thrilled by the prospect of seeing a well-rested Jofra Archer making life extremely uncomfortable for opposition batsmen when the West Indies come to town next month.

The West Indies and England are expected to mark a return to international cricket action, with a three-Test series, which will be held in the UK, in July.  Due to ongoing fears concerning the Coronavirus, the matches will be played without fans and in a sterile environment.  Small, insists, however, that he does not expect or want to see a competitively sterile series.

Archer, who is himself another Barbadian-born national turned Englishman and former West Indies youth representative, is expected to capture a good deal of the spotlight.  The bowler who began his career in promising fashion, took 22 wickets in his first four matches at an average of just over 20.  Some of his 95-per-hour thunderbolts, often had batsmen on the ropes, unsettling even the best of them.  During the Ashes, Archer delivered frightening deliveries that struck Australian batsman Steve Smith on the arm and then around the neck area before he could react to the ball.  The bowler has struggled to reproduce such form since and has been hampered by injury.  With the hiatus from sport granting him some recovery time and being recently declared fit for the series, Small is hoping to see that fire return.

“He had a great first year in the international game.  He came back from South Africa with an injury and didn’t play the last couple of Test matches.  Hopefully the time off has allowed his injuries to heal and he can come back charging and hitting guys on the helmet as he did in that series last summer,” Small told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

"I think the term fast bowler gets offered around loosely, especially in the modern game but this guy is genuinely quick and he makes it looks so easy...it’s good to see batsmen hopping around the crease."

England paceman Jofra Archer is having a "blast" in lockdown despite being unable to find his Cricket World Cup medal.

Archer has moved into a new flat and has had plenty of time to settle in due to the restrictions imposed in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he has revealed the winner's medal received at Lord's last July following England's World Cup final win over New Zealand is proving to be elusive.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Oh, jeez. So, the funny thing is...I have a portrait that someone did of me and sent to me, so I had the medal hanging on that.

"I moved flats, the picture has been put on a new wall but there's no medal.

"I've turned the house upside down for over a week and still haven't managed to find it."

Archer will continue the search for the biggest prize of his career to date, adding: "Trust me, there's nothing else to do in these conditions!"

The 25-year-old, who was ruled out for around three months after suffering a stress fracture in his right elbow in February, has had no trouble adapting to life during lockdown.

He said: "To be honest with you, I'm having a blast.

"I get to play Call of Duty as long as I want and I still get to train at home. I did play the cricket [video] game last week - I'll probably stick to CoD."

Jofra Archer has revealed he would have needed time off had England failed to win the 2019 Cricket World Cup final, admitting: "I take losses really, really hard".

Hosts England edged out New Zealand in last year's showpiece at Lord's, claiming the trophy for the first time having hit more boundaries than their opponents after the two teams could not even be split by a Super Over.

It was Archer who held his nerve with the ball in a tense finish to proceedings, conceding just a single from the final delivery as Martin Guptill was run out trying to complete the second run that would have sealed victory for the Black Caps.

The pace bowler had needed to recover from a difficult start to the Super Over, however. His first attempted delivery was called a wide, while Jimmy Neesham then hit him for six as the Kiwis lowered their initial target of 16 down to three from the last two balls.

Yet Archer restricted Neesham and then Guptill at the death, much to his relief.

The 25-year-old was born in Barbados and had only qualified to represent England earlier in 2019, making him a late addition to captain Eoin Morgan's one-day squad prior to the tournament on home soil.

Joining Sky Sports' coverage as they showed a full repeat of the final, Archer said: "To be honest, the most relieving thing is that we won.

"There was a lot of controversy before I started - if I was the reason we lost, I don't think it would have gone down too well. I would probably have asked to take a month or two off from cricket, I don't know.

"I take losses really, really hard, so I don't know what losing a World Cup final would have done to me."

Jos Buttler also joined Archer and Sky pundits Rob Key and Nasser Hussain to view the closing stages of the game, with the wicketkeeper witnessing again the moment he broke the stumps to dismiss Guptill.

Asked to remember how he felt at the time, Buttler recalled: "The 30 seconds or a minute from taking the bails off to all of us running around, that is the most incredible feeling. It's pure elation really."

Ben Stokes also made an appearance during the re-run - and explained how he initially tried to talk Morgan out of the plan to send him back out alongside Buttler to bat in the Super Over.

The duo, who had shared a 110-run partnership earlier in proceedings as England matched New Zealand's total of 241, managed to take 15 off Trent Boult.

"When Morgs told me [I would be batting again], I said, 'I reckon Jos and J-Roy (Jason Roy)', because of how well Jason had played during the whole World Cup," Stokes – who was named man of the match after making a pivotal 84 not out in England's innings – said. 

"But as soon as he said, 'We want a right-hand, left-hand combination', I was like, 'Right, I have to get out of my emotions right now, go clear my head and get my head back on starting all over again."

Ben Stokes has been named the leading cricketer in the world for 2020 by Wisden.

Stokes ends India batsman Virat Kohli's three-year reign in possession of the honour and becomes the first Englishman since fellow all-rounder Andrew Flintoff to be considered the best player in the global game by the esteemed publication.

The body of work amassed by Stokes over the course of an outstanding 2019 made him an obvious frontrunner for such recognition.

He top-scored with an unbeaten 84 as England took the World Cup final into a super over, where Stokes and Jos Buttler scored 15 before the hosts won on the boundary count back rule at Lord's.

Remarkably, that was not Stokes' finest hour of the English summer, as he went on to score 135 not out to seal an enthralling one-wicket win over Australia in the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley – an innings to rank alongside the all-time greats in cricket's longest format.

Jofra Archer, another standout performer in England's World Cup and Ashes campaigns was named as one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year for 2019, along with Australia duo Marnus Labuschagne and Pat Cummins.

Labuschagne's introduction to the series came as a concussion substitute when Steve Smith was struck by a brutish Archer bouncer and he went on to make the number three position his own, averaging 112 in the Australian summer that followed.

Cummins underlined his status as the number one pace bowler in the world with 29 wickets against England in an urn-retaining 2-2 draw.

That is a standing Archer can certainly aspire to, having claimed 55 wickets across all formats in his breakthrough international year.

Wisden's five cricketers of 2019 were rounded out by Simon Harmer, the Essex spinner whose 83 wickets gave him 12 more scalps than any other bowler on the way to County Championship glory, and Ellyse Perry.

Perry was Australia's leading run-scorer (378) and wicket-taker (15) in the 2019 Women's Ashes and was also named the leading women's player in the world.

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell is the leading T20 cricketer.

Jofra Archer is "progressing as expected" as he recovers from a stress fracture in his right elbow and is set to make a return to action for Sussex in May.

The pace bowler suffered the injury during England’s tour of South Africa, featuring in just the first of four Test matches before withdrawing from the Twenty20 series against the Proteas.

In a statement released on its website, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Archer has undergone a repeat MRI scan and, following a review by the medical team, is focused on being fit for the first Test against West Indies in June.

The 24-year-old, who will again be assessed in April, had hinted at potentially being fit in time to play in the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals, but will instead make his comeback in the County Championship.

"Following a repeat MRI scan undertaken this week in London, Jofra Archer has been reviewed by the ECB medical team and is progressing as expected from the stress fracture to his right elbow sustained during the South Africa tour in January," the statement read.

"He will have a further scan in mid-April before a return to competitive cricket.

"Archer's focus will be playing for England, starting with the West Indies Test series, which commences in early June.

"He will play County Championship cricket in May for Sussex to ensure his preparation is optimal for Test cricket."

Archer helped England win the Cricket World Cup last year and has played in seven Tests so far in his international career, taking 30 wickets in the longest format at an average of 27.40.

He recently signed a two-year contract extension with Sussex, saying: "I am very happy to commit long term to the club."

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has signed a two-year extension to his Sussex contract.

The 24-year-old, who made his international debut last year, has committed to the county until the end of 2021 season.

Cricket World Cup winner Archer was delighted to agree fresh terms.

"Sussex gave me my opportunity right at the beginning of my career, so I am very happy to commit long term to the club," said the paceman, who signed for Sussex in 2016.

Archer has 55 England wickets across all formats since making his breakthrough at the highest level but is currently sidelined with a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow. 

Rajasthan Royals remain hopeful that Jofra Archer can play in the Indian Premier League despite the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealing he would miss the tournament.

The ECB on Friday stated that paceman Archer has been ruled out of England's Test tour of Sri Lanka and the IPL due to a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow.

Archer is due to commence a rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to facing West Indies in a three-match Test series in June.

Yet the Royals, who signed the quick for 7.2 crore (£800,000) in the 2018 IPL auction, have not given up hope of Archer playing in a tournament that gets under way at the end of March and finishes on May 24.

Rajasthan head coach Andrew McDonald told ESPNcricinfo: "It is a blow but these things always confront teams. These are the setbacks that you have to contend with.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with Jofra. Getting an elbow injury when you are at the top of your game is far from ideal, but watching him from afar it's been great to see what he's been able to achieve.

"We'll see what happens. The ECB have been reasonably solid on ruling him out of the IPL, but we still hold out some hope that he may recover.

"We'll get those details over the next 24-48 hours as to the extent of the injury, and we'll work with the ECB as to what that may or may not look like.

"I'm sure he's keen [to play in the IPL]. He loves playing for Rajasthan, but injuries happen, and until more details come to light, we will always hold out hope for a player of that quality.

"It doesn't look good at the moment, but we won't be in any rush to replace him at this moment in time."

Jofra Archer will miss England's Test tour of Sri Lanka after it was confirmed the paceman has sustained a low-grade stress fracture to his right elbow.

The lightning-quick seamer missed the final three matches of England's four-match Test series in South Africa and was already ruled out of the ODIs and Twenty20 fixtures against the Proteas.

Archer underwent further tests on his injury this week and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed he will not travel to Sri Lanka in March.

"Archer underwent further scans on his injured right elbow yesterday in the UK which confirmed a low-grade stress fracture," an ECB statement read.

"He will now commence an injury rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to be ready for the international summer campaign starting in June against the West Indies in a three-match Test series."

The 24-year-old will also miss the 2020 Indian Premier League season with the Rajasthan Royals as a result of his injury.

England will hope to have Archer back for the three-match home Test series against the West Indies, which starts on June 4 at the Oval. 

Joe Root's men play two five-day matches in Sri Lanka, the first beginning on March 19.

Joe Root would rank a series win over South Africa as his greatest achievement as England Test captain and believes the "sky is the limit" for his young side.

England head into the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers - which starts on Friday - with a 2-1 lead, having already extended their unbeaten run in away Test series against the Proteas to four.

The tourists have been hit hard by both illness and injuries in South Africa, with James Anderson, Jack Leach and Rory Burns having all returned to England, while paceman Jofra Archer missed the last two Tests with an elbow issue.

Given the circumstances, Root says beating the Proteas in their own backyard would probably go down as his most satisfying accomplishment since taking over as skipper almost three years ago.

"It's been a tour that has thrown everything at us," Root told reporters. "But the whole squad, the players and the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as in control as we could.

"When we've had our opportunities to bounce back, we've really taken them. It's been really pleasing in many ways.

"We're a very young side at the start of something and we've seen some very promising performances. To win three Tests in a row would be a very big achievement for this group.

"A series win here probably would be my proudest achievement as captain, because of the different things we've had to manage throughout this tour.

"We've had injuries and senior players having to fly home and a lot of illness to deal with and we have adapted to very different conditions.

"For a young group of players that has been very pleasing and a sign we're doing the right things. If we can harness that and keep looking to improve then I do think the sky's the limit for this team.

"But we're very much at the start of something here and we're not perfect by any means. We have to keep that attitude and keep driving that forward for a long period of time if we want to get to number one in the world."

Mark Wood came into the side for the third Test and it remains to be seen if he will be able to play back-to-back matches with Archer pushing for a recall.

"It would be nice to see how Archer and Wood go together," Root said.

"It would be a relentless barrage of pace. It would be great to have that extra bit of pace and firepower, but ultimately we've got to hit the right areas as we have done in the last couple of games."

England paceman Jofra Archer staked his claim for a recall for the final Test against South Africa with an impressive showing in the nets on Wednesday.

An elbow injury kept Archer out of victories at Newlands and St George's Park that have given the tourists a 2-1 lead with one match to play at the Wanderers.

The quick could come back into the side in Johannesburg on Friday after catching the eye in practice, while England are monitoring Mark Wood after he played his first Test for 11 months in Port Elizabeth.

England assistant coach Graham Thorpe told talkSPORT: "Jofra had good rhythm and bowled nice and quick today.

"That's where we want Jof to be. He looks good, but he will have to come in again tomorrow and back it up.

"The elbow problem has been a big issue for him. You can't force that, you have to wait for the player to be confident with it.

"Mark Wood hasn't played back-to-back Test matches for a while, but he bowled exceptionally well for us in Port Elizabeth. He bowled at high speeds of 90mph plus and gave us an X-factor. We'll have to see how he is and I'm sure Woody will be really honest with us.

"Historically, it's a pitch which has good carry and pace and generally starts softer then quickens up. It has that carry which bowlers, batters and spinners alike enjoy.

"It would be tough if [spinner Dom] Bess didn't play this Test. He has done himself no harm, though, in the way he has come into the set-up and the way he's bowled.

"He's progressed from the last time I saw him about six months ago and when you perform it gives you confidence. So we won't rush straight into a decision, it'll be nice to have all those options on the table."

Mark Wood was named in England's side for the third Test against South Africa, with Jofra Archer once again unavailable.

Captain Joe Root opted to give the fit-again Wood the nod to replace James Anderson, who sustained a rib injury in the Ben Stokes-inspired victory in Cape Town that levelled the four-match series at 1-1.

Paceman Archer missed out in Port Elizabeth as he continues to battle a troublesome elbow problem, while Wood earned a place over Chris Woakes, who was also in contention.

"Jofra pulled up a little sore with his elbow, but credit to Woody, he's fit and firing and that's an exciting place to be, and two guys up around 90mph is an exciting place for England cricket," Root said. 

"We need to make sure we back up [Cape Town] well."

Wood last played a competitive fixture in England's thrilling Cricket World Cup final victory over New Zealand in July and underwent knee surgery after the tournament.

The paceman's last Test match was against the West Indies in St Lucia 11 months ago, but Wood insisted he is raring to go.

"I went to La Manga with James Anderson then the fast bowlers' camp. There've been question marks about my fitness, but that last game [in St Lucia] gives me confidence," he said. 

"Short, sharp burst, four-five overs, give it everything I've got. The outfield is quite green so [you have] got to be clever working on the ball and look after it well."

England captain Joe Root pledged not to take any risks over the fitness of pace bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood on the eve of the third Test against South Africa.

A Ben Stokes-inspired England squared the four-match series at one apiece thanks to a thrilling victory on the final session in Cape Town eight days ago.

Glory came at a price, however, with James Anderson ruled out of the remainder of the tour due to a rib problem.

It means a potential opening for Wood or Archer – both of whom are capable of frequently topping 90 mph - providing their own injury complaints are in order.

Archer sat out the previous Test due to an elbow issue, while Wood has not played competitively since England's Cricket World Cup final win over South Africa in June.

"That decision hasn't been made," Root told a news conference, with regards to Anderson's replacement.

"It's important to use [Wednesday's] session and make sure we've got a really clear understanding of where everybody is at.

"We need to find that out and make sure we're really clear going into a five-day game that they are able to stand up to the challenges that will bring, physically and mentally, having not played for a little while.

"It is the sensible thing to do to hold off, get more information on the pitch and more information on where they're at.

"If they've proven themselves to be fit, if they've jumped through every hoop and worked very hard to get back there, you have to give them that opportunity."

Chris Woakes represents an alternative if England opt not to chance Archer or Wood, but there is no doubt selecting either of the speed merchants carries added allure.

Wood's most recent Test outing saw him claim first-innings figures of 5-41 thanks to a searing spell before being named man of the match in a 232-run demolition of West Indies in St Lucia.

"With Mark, if you look at the last summer of cricket he played, he actually got through a lot of cricket injury-free which is testament to how hard he's worked on his rehab and making sure his body can cope with different things. He's been managed well by the medical staff," Root said.

"The reason we've been quite cautious in terms of rushing him back is that history. If he's 100 per cent, bowling at 90mph-plus, the skills he has at that pace are going to cause problems and will be a great asset in Test cricket."

Root confirmed a specialist spinner will feature in the England attack in Port Elizabeth, with Dom Bess expected to keep his place ahead of the uncapped Matt Parkinson after Jack Leach returned home due to illness.

England's difference-maker could once again be Stokes, who was honoured by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as its Player of the Year after a phenomenal 2019 in red and white-ball formats.

"It is hard to say any more superlatives, it is the right decision and it could not really have been anyone else," his captain added.

"The way he has performed across all the formats has been fantastic. In my opinion he is definitely the leading player in the world at the moment."

The supporter who racially abused Jofra Archer during England's Test match in Mount Maunganui has been banned from attending cricket fixtures for two years by New Zealand Cricket (NZC).

England seamer Archer claimed he heard racial insults directed at him during the final day of the first Test, which the hosts won by an innings and 65 runs.

Both NZC and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson apologised to Archer and an investigation was launched by the governing body.

NZC confirmed that police have since spoken to a 28-year-old man from Auckland who admitted being responsible for the abuse, which led to a verbal warning from the authorities.

In addition, NZC have written to the man to inform him he is barred from attending international and domestic fixtures in New Zealand until 2022.

Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes are locked in a battle for a spot in England's bowling attack for the third Test with South Africa. 

Fielding coach Paul Collingwood revealed the trio were all in contention to replace the injured James Anderson in Port Elizabeth.

With the series tied at 1-1, the tourists will hope to build on their impressive 189-run victory in the second Test, with Archer, Wood and Woakes eyeing a spot in the line-up.

"They've an opportunity over the next two training sessions to prove to us they should be the one in the team," said Collingwood.

"It's actually really nice to be able to come into a Test being able to choose from players who are 100 per cent ready to go.

"Here at PE [Port Elizabeth] it's generally a slower pitch, so sometimes having that kind of X-factor can be great.

"Sunday's training session was one of the best we've had for a long time.

"We saw bowlers really running in against the batters. They were really making it difficult for them. If we can do that more often, then our education as a team will grow very strongly and very quickly."

Responding to suggestions that Archer had lost his way after bursting onto the scene with England last year, Collingwood jumped to the 24-year-old's defence.

"He's very early on in his international career," he said. "He hasn't bowled a lot with the Kookaburra ball, which requires a completely different skillset from the Dukes. 

"His main skill is bowling 90 miles per hour plus. We have enough bowlers in and around the county circuit who can bowl at 82 to 85 miles per hour and try to nip it around. 

"You want the likes of Wood and Archer to give you that X-factor.”

The third Test begins on Thursday.

Mark Wood is nearing full fitness and is keen to reignite his speed-gun rivalry with Jofra Archer on England's tour of South Africa.

Durham paceman Wood has not played since the Cricket World Cup final in July, having powered through a side strain to bowl at 95 miles per hour and help his country win the trophy.

The 30-year-old, who also underwent knee surgery during his time out, bowled 35 overs last week and said he will be ready for the third Test in Port Elizabeth, though he could be held back until the final match in Johannesburg.

When he does return, and with James Anderson ruled out for the rest of the series due to a rib injury, Wood wants to resume his competition with Archer.

"I do like the idea of the two of us operating together in a Test match," said Wood. "As long as he's not at mid-off asking me if I'm just warming up when I've bent my back.

"Playing alongside him did spur me on so maybe it will help. We have a friendly rivalry over the speed gun. In the World Cup when I put one up on the speed gun that was quite quick I'd just look over to Jofra and give him a little wink. Then he'd do the same to me.

"In the World Cup final I knew that I'd pipped him. I was clocked at 95.7 miles per hour and he was 95.6 miles per hour and as we came off the field and into the dressing room I was dying to tell him.

"I said to him as he walked in, 'Jofra, I've got you! I've done you on the speed gun!' and he strolled past fresh as a daisy and looked me up and down with an ice pack on my side, an ice pack on my knee and an ice pack on my ankle and just said, 'Yeah, but I think I'd rather be me.' I was like, 'Yeah, fair enough mate'.

"Deep down he's trying to prove that he's the meanest, toughest fast bowler out there. And so am I. We both want each other to do well, but we both want to be the quickest guy on show. But he's more talented than I am."

Wood believes Archer and Chris Woakes are ahead of him in the pecking order but finally feels comfortable with his position in the squad.

"I'm not even in the team at the minute but I feel much happier within myself," he says. "I feel I'm an England cricketer rather than just someone that's always pushing to try and get into the team. I feel a slightly different cricketer to what I did before.

"I have the World Cup and the St Lucia Test [when Wood claimed his maiden five-wicket Test haul] under my belt. The West Indies was a huge trip for me. I really felt I was in the last chance saloon; I'd had a lot of injuries.

"I have felt that if I get fit then there's no reason why I can't do that again. The St Lucia Test is lodged in my mind as one of the best days I've had. If I can replicate that I'll be pretty happy.

"And confidence is a massive thing. Now I know that I can do it. There's been games where I've played for England where I shouldn't have played and that's affected my record and my confidence.

"With those good performances and having some success under my belt, it means that I can go into rehab knowing how it feels when it's good.

"It's not just potential now. I know I can perform. I know now I can deliver if called upon."

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