Reading Simon Heffer’s views in the Telegraph over the decision to shorten the residency qualification for Sussex speedster Jofra Archer, I think that his trenchant right-wing voice got in the way of the facts.
The ECB has only brought the qualification period in line with that of the the ICC. Heffer’s argument is that it blocks the passage for English county cricketers. In the last 5 years The Overtons, Jamie Bell, Mark Wood and Olly Stone most recently have all been selected with varying degrees of success, so no blockage here.
Heffer’s also cites for his argument that Archer did not come to the UK until he was 18. I not recall such an objection being made of Ben Stokes who spent his early life in New Zealand.
I don’t recall either too much fuss being made over Graeme Hick or Zola Budd but maybe that is because they have a different skin colour to Archer.
According to our Sussex correspondent he has also helped along young Sussex bowlers George Garton and Stuart Trimingham, who has just moved to Gloucestershire.
A few years ago I recall a distinctly mediocre bowler called Bob “Lofty Herman” taking 70 wickets for Hampshire. The bowler up at the other end was Malcolm Marshall.
Last season Ollie Robinson aged 24 took 70 wickets for Sussex. Archer’s father is a British passport holder, his son played just the one game for the Windies in the under 21 team.
Of course Heffer is red ball man. In an age when test cricket is struggling in many places not least the West Indies he should be heartened that young Archer wants to play it.