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Jofra Archer excluded from second England-West Indies Test

Jofra Archer bowling in the nets at Old Trafford

England v West Indies, second Test
Venue: Emirates Old Trafford Date: 16-20 July Time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Live Test Match Special radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, highlights on BBC Two at 19:00 (19:15 on Saturday), live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app.

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been excluded from the second Test against West Indies after breaching the bio-secure protocols.

The 25-year-old went to his Brighton home between the first Test in Southampton and second in Manchester.

All of England’s matches this summer are being played behind closed doors and in a bio-secure environment.

Archer’s breach only came to light on Wednesday night, after he was named in the 13-man squad.

England have not named a replacement, with the team for the Test at Emirates Old Trafford due to be confirmed at the toss on Thursday.

‘I have let both teams down’

Archer, who made his England debut last summer, said: “I am extremely sorry for what I have done.

“I have put not only myself but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions and I want to apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble.

“It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special: “I would think the management would feel very let down. He’s a young kid who has made a silly mistake, and England will miss him.

“I look at the West Indies and what they’ve given up to be here.

“They have come to a country that has been hit by Covid more than most. They’ve had to live at Old Trafford for two and a half weeks. For one England player to break that protocol, when he’s only been away from home a couple of weeks…”

Former England captain Alastair Cook said: “It does throw it into a little bit of disarray. England wanted to have some pace and bounce in their bowling attack throughout the summer but now they’re going to be robbed of that.”

West Indies limited-overs all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite told TMS: “As a personal friend, I’m disappointed, not only in what Jofra’s done, but the scrutiny you get from the media.

“That said, it does not excuse what he does. Without me trying to sound disrespectful or accepting of what he did, there’s a lot worse things he could have done, outside of popping home.”

What happens now?

Archer must now isolate for five days, during which time he will take two coronavirus tests, both of which must return negative results before he can return to the England squad.

West Indies have been informed of the sanctions and are satisfied with the restrictions that have been imposed.

Archer, who has played eight Tests, took 3-45 in England’s defeat in Southampton and was the only member of the pace attack retained for the second Test, with James Anderson and Mark Wood rested.

It means England will choose three from Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and uncapped Ollie Robinson to play in Manchester.

Analysis

An extraordinary amount of planning went into creating the bio-secure environment and the punishment for what some might see as a minor indiscretion from Archer shows just how seriously England are taking the safety protocols.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had previously acknowledged the need for players to leave the bubble from time to time, but on this occasion they were expected to head straight from Southampton to Manchester.

The experience in Southampton demonstrated just how strict life in the bubble is – regular coronavirus tests, temperature checkpoints, mandatory face masks and hand sanitiser in every location imaginable. The movement of everyone on site – players, staff, media and hotel workers – is tracked by a fob worn around the neck.

Archer will have known what is expected. It is a great shame for him and the England team that he has erred.

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