From another era, when Javed Miandad suggested Ewen Chatfield would make the ideal bowling machine for his Karachi backyard, it was a type of nod to Chatfield being the kind of bowler who was made by the cricket gods to go all day long on a dead or flat wicket. If ‘Chats’ had been a car, he’d have been an HQ Holden or a Toyota Corolla (or a yellow Mini) and you could have driven him from all the way from Kaitaia to Invercargill and back, and the engine would still be in much the same condition as when you set off. You wouldn’t risk a high-performance engine of something like a Ferrari on a long haul like that.
Fast forward thirty years to Bay Oval, Mt Maunganui, and Jofra Archer was required to do a Chatfield in bowling workload of 42 overs in a single innings. He’d never even bowled 30 in a county championship game before. Madness. Stuart Broad ‘only’ had to bowl 33, Ben Stokes got off lightly by comparison, with 26. Was Joe Root trying to toughen up Archer for god knows what? It didn’t make sense. On top of that, the poor bugger despicably gets abused by a germ-ridden piece of dung in the crowd.
And now on the first day of the Hamilton test when Jofra runs into bowl, he is accused of not giving one hundred percent for not tearing into the wicket. What is that about? Moreover that very summation was also one made by one in particular who has played at the very highest level.
Remember Michael Holding? (of course you do). His moniker was ‘Whispering Death’ because of his run-up being so absolutely languid in nature that the batsman could hardly hear him approaching. He didn’t need to tear in all pistons cranking like Malcolm Marshall used to. Holding generated all his pace at the wicket and became a legend.
So if Jofra Archer appears to be sauntering up to bowl in Hamilton; in light of all that above, who can blame him? A great number of his predecessors from his country of origin did exactly the same, and in doing so became feared the world over as ‘Nasty Fasties’.
There’s still basically the whole of this test to go. Not to mention the fact Archer already has a pretty imposing test average of 24 runs per wicket. Credit where credit’s due. What’s a young fast bowler to do?