Jofra Archer was today kicked out of the second Test match against West Indies after putting his England squad at risk by flouting coronavirus protocols.
It is thought Archer, 25, made a 100-mile round detour trip home in Hove to visit his girlfriend while driving from Southampton to Manchester on Monday.
The England fast bowler and hero of last year’s World Cup victory then posted a cryptic meme on Twitter yesterday featuring a photograph of himself taken during England’s net session which read: ‘Her: Drop the attitude or leave’ then ‘Me’ – with the picture of Archer giving a sly glance to the camera.
Archer was booted out of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford today after reportedly leaving England officials ‘fuming’ over his unauthorised detour.
He is now isolating for five days in his hotel room by Old Trafford and is forbidden from interacting face-to-face with his teammates He will also take two virus tests, which will have to come back negative if he wants to play in next week’s Test.
In an ECB statement, Archer said: ‘I am extremely sorry for what I have done. I have put not only myself but the whole team and management in danger.
Jofra Archer was today kicked out of the second Test match against West Indies after putting his England squad at risk by flouting coronavirus protocols. It is thought 25-year-old Archer (pictured with his girlfriend Druanna Butler at a paint festival in Barbados last summer), made a 100-mile round detour trip home in Hove to visit his girlfriend on Monday
The fast bowler and hero of last year’s World Cup win was booted out of the Test at Emirates Old Trafford this morning after reportedly leaving England officials ‘fuming’. His unauthorised detour breached strict regulations which have made this cricket season possible
The England fast bowler then posted a cryptic meme on Twitter yesterday featuring a photograph of himself taken during England’s net session which read: ‘Her: Drop the attitude or leave’ then ‘Me’ – with the picture of Archer giving a sly glance to the camera
England World Cup ace Jofra: Pace bowling sensation from Barbados who powered England to glory
Jofra was three years old when his father Frank Archer, who was born in Catford, split from his Barbadian mother and returned to the UK.
His father’s British citizenship allowed Jofra, who was born and educated in Barbados, to get a British passport at the age of eight.
‘It has been his dream to play for England ever since he was eight years old, so to see it happen is surreal,’ said Mr Archer, who watched the World Cup final on his mobile phone at a bar because he could not get a ticket.
‘People have been questioning his Britishness, but him playing for England has shown he will inspire everyone to play cricket, because it’s usually seen as an elitist sport.
‘I emailed him after the semis and said ‘this is your moment, go for it, the moment has arrived to show the heroes of England your worth’.’
Despite being picked to play for the West Indies Under-19 team just two years earlier, Archer moved to Britain in 2015 having growing disillusioned with the state of cricket in the Caribbean, after he was not picked for the Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
The snub devastated Archer, but it also strengthened his resolve to represent England. Another Barbadian fast bowler who had crossed the Atlantic to play for England, Chris Jordan, helped Archer get a contract with Sussex – where he took 61 wickets in his first full season with the county.
His mother, who was at Lord’s to watch him lift the World Cup, banned Archer from living with his father – so he went to live with his maternal uncle instead.
England fans had expected to wait until 2022 to see Archer turn out in their colours. Official rules stated that because he did not live in England until after his 18th birthday, he had to complete a seven-year residency period.
But in 2018, the England and Wales Cricket Board shortened its residency requirements – a move widely interpreted as being designed to fast-track the exciting bowler’s path into England’s World Cup squad.
Despite his heroics throughout the tournament, Archer’s career nearly went down an entirely different path.
His father said: ‘He had call-ups to play for both cricket and football teams as a child, and he asked me ‘which one should I do?’. I told him cricket had more scope, so he should concentrate on that.
‘I couldn’t afford football boots for him when he was younger, so I made sure I bought all the cricket kit for him when he got older.’
Mr Archer also revealed that, despite his 90mph rockets casting fear into opposition batsmen throughout the World Cup, when Jofra was born doctors warned that he might be disabled because of under-developed muscles – and recommended he play computer games ‘to get his fingers working properly’.
He said: ‘After that I had a sense it was going to happen, he was born for it. When he was two, his grandad made a mini bat for him and he would drag it around the house.’
Whenever Jofra visited his father in London he always wanted to play cricket, Mr Archer recalled.
‘One time we were walking past a casual cricket match in Hyde Park, any time he saw cricket he would always make a beeline to play too. He played with them for an hour, and was so mad to leave the game.
‘When he was eight, we made a mission statement to get him a scholarship so he could play for England or the West Indies. He was famous at school as he was the best cricketer, he was always winning prizes.’
‘I fully accept the consequences of my actions and I want to sincerely 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.’
The journey from the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, where England’s players lived in a ‘bio-secure bubble’ during the first Test, to Hove is about 60 miles – which suggests that Archer’s detour could be as much as 120 miles in total.
It is not known if Archer was meeting with Druanna Butler, the mystery woman pictured grinding with the ace cricketer in Barbados last summer and who was confirmed as his then girlfriend.
But a Hove resident told MailOnline that they had seen Archer ‘puttering around Hove on a tiny scooter’, adding: ‘It seems to his preferred mode of transport.
‘It makes for quite an incongruous sight as he’s this really tall guy on a tiny scooter with his knees round his ears,’ they said.
‘He was seen before the recent test match. I think he has got a girlfriend but I’m not sure if she lives round here or in London.’
Archer only informed a senior member of England staff last night – 48 hours after his detour – and it was immediately passed on to management.
The bowler’s representatives were informed of his exclusion early today.
MailOnline understands the players were aware their journeys north would be tracked, although it was not obvious how amid suggestions that the bluetooth trackers they wear while on site at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford do not have the capacity to work over longer distances.
Archer’s exclusion is a huge blow for England and Archer, who was back to his best in the second innings of the first Test at the Ageas Bowl that England lost.
The players have had to stay confined to their on-site hotel at Hampshire’s ground in Southampton for two weeks before the Test as part of the extensive bio-secure measures that were necessary to make international cricket possible.
Then they travelled by separate cars from Southampton to Manchester before entering a new bubble at the on-site hotel at Old Trafford on Monday and it is during the journey that Archer’s breach took place.
A designated stop-off for food was arranged for the players en route.
Speaking on Sky Sports, former West Indies bowler Michael Holding had little sympathy for Archer.
‘None, not at all. Sacrifice? Nelson Mandela being locked up for 27 years for doing nothing. That’s sacrifice.’
He added: ‘I want to ask a few questions of the ECB and these protocols: why aren’t the England team travelling on a bus?
‘If they have passed their COVID tests, everyone is together, moving from one venue to another, why are they allowed to be going in cars? What’s the purpose of that?
‘People need to think a bit.’
Speaking on Test Match Special, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: ‘I don’t think he will play next week, there needs to be some kick-back and Jofra can’t think he can just walk back into the team. It could be a few Tests.
‘I suspect the next journey they made will be by bus. Everything will become more strict, especially when they travel again to the Ageas Bowl I suspect they’ll be going by bus.
‘But if the tracking device works so well, surely they would have picked it up before last night?’
Vaughan said that England players were informed of the news of Archer’s exclusion by team manager Phil Neal via WhatsApp at 7.50am, 10 minutes before the statement was released.
‘I think one or two of them didn’t see it because they were fast asleep and woke up about 8:30-8:45 and were like ‘eh what’s going on here?’ said Vaughan.
‘It’s the right call, though.’
That may be so but it is a serious lapse in judgment by Archer after the importance of adhering to the guidelines was repeatedly drummed into the players and everyone involved in a process that will save millions of pounds of broadcasting money for the ECB.
The consequences of anyone bringing the virus into the bubble does not bear thinking about and Archer potentially jeopardised the while series and the immediate financial future of the game.
Archer arrived late to the England camp at the Ageas Bowl this month after a member of his household felt ill. His subsequent Covid-19 tests came back negative.
The journey from the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, where England’s players lived in a ‘bio-secure bubble’ during the first Test, to Hove is about 60 miles – which suggests that Archer’s detour could be as much as 120 miles in total. It is not known if Archer was meeting with Druanna Butler, the mystery woman pictured grinding with the ace cricketer in Barbados last summer and who was confirmed as his then girlfriend
Druanna Butler (pictured) has known the cricketer for several months, their social media activity shows, and was revealed to be his girlfriend in July last year
Jofra Archer pictured dancing (left) and posing for a picture (right) with girlfriend Druanna Butler at a paint festival in Barbados last summer
His actions come after England’s captain for the first Test, Ben Stokes, spoke about the attention to detail necessary to ensure the series could go ahead.
Ahead of the first Test, Stokes said: ‘I feel as though a lot of respect has been shown from both sides to make sure this works.
‘Because if you get one thing wrong, it might blow this whole ‘get sport back on to the radar of people’ further back.
‘So we’re grateful we’ve been given an opportunity to get back onto the field and we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure we don’t mess it up.’
His absence means that either Sam Curran or newcomer Ollie Robinson will come in as a fourth change to the team who lost the first Test after they were named in a 13-man squad on Wednesday.
Captain Joe Root will return for the dropped Joe Denly while Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes are expected to return for the rested Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood.
Now England have a huge and totally unexpected extra headache after the inexplicable behaviour of a cricketer who should have the world at his feet.
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons went into self-isolation after leaving his team’s bio-secure location in Manchester to attend his father-in-law’s funeral prior to the first Test.
Cricketers ‘behaving badly’: From boozing on a pedalo to alleged trysts that broke bed frames
Flintoff was sacked from the England team in 2007 after he was caught boozing on a pedalo in the Caribbean.
The cricketer had been attempting to get out to sea and find the boat on which he believed Ian Botham was enjoying a late-night drink before he fell into the rough waters of St Lucia.
He told Piers Morgan in 2014: ‘About 1.30am I thought: ‘I’m hammered here, go home.’ I had to walk partially across the beach. For some reason I had this idea these boats out to sea – it sounds bizarre – but I knew Ian Botham was on one and I thought: ‘I’m going to have a nightcap with Beefy.’
‘I thought: ‘I can’t swim … that would be dangerous,’ so I was going to get a kayak.’
‘I couldn’t find the oars, so I dragged this pedalo into the water,’ Flintoff added. ‘The next morning I woke up, I was on my bed and… still wet and… sand between my toes.
‘Then the door knocked. The door had these slats, and I thought it was the maid wanting to clean the room. So I said: ‘Can you come back?’
‘But it was the coach. I pulled the slats down and answered the door, and then Duncan just said: ‘My room – now.’
Botham is regarded as one of the all-time great England cricketers, having represented England in both Test and One-Day International cricket. He played most of his first-class cricket for Somerset, Worcestershire, Durham and Queensland, and is now chairman of Durham County Cricket Club.
His glittering career was often overshadowed by rumours of boozing (admitted), smoking cannabis (denied, but later admitted) and womanising (vehemently denied).
In 1986 former Miss Barbados Lindy Field claimed to have enjoyed sex and cocaine with Botham during England’s tour of the West Indies.
Their trysts were allegedly so passionate, they broke a bed. Botham began to sue for libel, but later dropped the case.
Botham ended his two-year affair with Australian waitress Kylie Verrells, a single mother he’d met on New Year’s Eve 1998 in Sydney, where he was commentating on the Ashes, after his wife accidentally overheard him whispering goodbye to his lover on the telephone as she passed his study during a lull in Christmas festivities at their home in North Yorkshire in 2000.
Gatting played first-class cricket for Middlesex and captained the England cricket team for 23 Test matches between 1986 and 1988.
According to his autobiography, the selectors were looking for an excuse to get rid of Gatting, who gained notoriety in the ‘Shakoor Rana affair’ when he argued with umpire Shakoor Rana in Pakistan, by 1988.
That year, The Sun and Today accused Gatting of shenanigans with a barmaid, Louise Shipman, in his hotel room during the first Test against the West Indies at Trent Bridge. Gatting denied the story, but England dismissed him anyway.