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Jofra Archer had ‘wonderful game’ against South Africa: Michael Atherton

New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Atherton was impressed with the immediate impact made by Jofra Archer in his early days of coming back to the international cricket arena during the side’s 59-run win over South Africa in the third ODI at Kimberley.

After captain Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan hit centuries in the match against the Proteas, Archer, playing just his second international match after being on the sidelines due to back and elbow injuries, ran through South Africa’s top and middle order to pick career-best figures of 6-40 in his 9.1 overs and carry England to victory.

“You have the context of him missing the best part of two years with very bad injuries. Elbow and back injuries are very serious for a fast bowler so there must have been some doubt for him over whether he would get back to full pace and full fitness.”

“He has a way to go to prove he can do it across formats in an ever-demanding schedule but this was a wonderful game for him. He proved his value because South Africa had a bit of a charge-on. You need wicket-takers in 50-over cricket and England have got those in Archer and Adil Rashid,” Atherton was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

Ex-England captain Nasser Hussain was also left happy over how Archer fared in the third ODI against South Africa and urged for the team think tank to look after him very well in a year where the Ashes and ODI World Cup are set to happen.

“He is a graceful fast bowler and it is so good to have him back in international cricket. He is like gold dust and needs looking after. He is so valuable for English cricket and world cricket. He is so box office.”

“Bowling fast is not easy and he has got that Michael Holding effortless grace. Everything is the line – everything is in straight lines, and his seam position (is fantastic). It is just perfection. Not a lot can go wrong, apart from his body.”

England’s next assignment in international cricket is a two-match series in New Zealand starting on February 16, while the white-ball team will be back in action in March for a white-ball tour of Bangladesh starting from March 1.