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The Ashes 2019: Jofra Archer Compared to Australian Legend Glenn McGrath by Steve Waugh

The Ashes 2019: Jofra Archer Compared to Australian Legend Glenn McGrath by Steve Waugh

Jofra Archer

You know you’ve had a great debut when people are already comparing you to the greats of the game. Jofra Archer seemed to have created an air of being the best in the business well before his Test debut. And watching him bowl in his maiden test match showed you why.

His hostile bowling made even arguably the best test batsman in the world uncomfortable. It was only his bowling that seemed to disturb the flow of Steve Smith, and it was his bouncer that forced Steve Smith to leave the field, and Marnus Labuschagne to come in as the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket.

Archer draws parallels to many of the greats that the world cricket has seen. His deceptive pace can be compared to Malcom Marshall, his verve to Andy Roberts and a bouncer that can make Joel Garner proud and Sir Vivian Richards uncomfortable. It might still be too early to come up to such conclusions, but that is certainly the first impression left by the 24-year old.

His pace is not only deceptive, but tends to draw attention away from other good things in his bowling. Former Australian captain, Steve Waugh, expressing his view on the West Indian born English cricketer, noted things other than his frightening pace. Waugh was very much impressed with the accuracy and control of Archer.

And when an Australian talks about accuracy, Glenn McGrath is never far away. That is exactly what Waugh saw in Archer. A glimpse of McGrath!

“I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone bowl quite like that,” Waugh told The Unplayable Podcast after the second Test when asked about Archer’s Test debut.

“He sort of ambles in and gets very close to the (stumps), makes the most of his height, and he’s got a simple action. In a lot of ways, not a similar action to Glenn McGrath, but very repeatable.”

When you watch Glenn McGrath, the most successful of Australian pacers, you get the feeling he took 563 Test wickets just by bowling a great channel around the off stump. That is how simple McGrath made bowling look. But there was much more to his bowling. The subtle change in angles, the small amount of seam moment, the little variations in bounce, all those things made McGrath the bowler he was.

Apart from the effortless pace, Waugh was impressed with these things that made Archer more effective.

“I can’t see too much going wrong with it and his control was very good for that reason, because he just bowls in a direct line and he’s close to the stumps,” he said in the podcast.

“He’s very upright, makes use of his height, he’s got that deceptive pace and, as we know, a pretty wicked bouncer.

“That’s something our team has got to analyse and work out how to play that because it was pretty effective in this (Lord’s) Test match.

“He is a very impressive bowler, for sure.”

Waugh was also skeptical in a way that this was still his first match, and had a feeling it is consistency over a longer period that separates the best from the better.

“If he plays four Test matches in a row, that will test him out,” Waugh said.

“So far he’s come through with flying colours. “(He bowled) forty (four) overs and each over was probably as quick as the previous one.

“It was a very impressive debut, but I know Test cricket. It’s about longevity and how you back up and how you handle different conditions.

“From England’s point of view, so far so good.”

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