England captain Joe Root has backed his star paceman Jofra Archer to rise from his failures in New Zealand, after the latter finished the two-Test series with just as many wickets.
Archer had carried his limited-overs success to the longest format in his maiden red-ball assignment, the home Ashes series earlier this year, where he bagged 22 wickets at 20.27 from four games. That standard of performance dipped in New Zealand, where he had a series to forget, taking just two wickets from 82 overs.
Root, though, is well aware of his potential and hopes to see the 24-year-old bounce back in the near future.
I think he's found that Test cricket is hard, and you've got to keep backing up those performances over and over again.
"I think he's found that Test cricket is hard, and you've got to keep backing up those performances over and over again," Root told Sky Sports. "You can sometimes bowl extremely well and get no reward.
"And he's young. He's right at the start of his career, and as I said at the start of the trip, there are big expectations on him. He's still got a lot of learning to do, but one thing I know for sure is that he's a fantastic talent and there's no doubt he's going to contribute massively for England in Test cricket."
Archer visibly found it difficult to adapt to the Kookaburra ball and seemed low on pace. He could've had his moment on the final day of the second Test, when he induced a false stroke off Kane Williamson, an aerial clip towards short mid-wicket, but Joe Denly dropped an absolute sitter to sum up the agony.
Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor led New Zealand's fightback with centuries before rain had the last word on day five of the Hamilton Test, which ended in a draw.#NZvENG REPORT 👇https://t.co/K5ztz7zDNC— ICC (@ICC) December 3, 2019
"He has to keep wanting to learn, and to stay nice and resilient mentally and physically as well, because these conditions can wear you down," Root said. "I expect him to bounce back quite strongly from something like this, because he's a fast learner. He's proven that when he's played domestic cricket around the world, in all these big franchise tournaments. Hopefully, we'll see see him back at his best soon."
Root added that inspiration can be drawn from the opposition too, as he heaped praises on Neil Wagner, who led the wicket-taking charts in the series, with 13 scalps to his name.
"You've got to learn from the opposition as well," he said. "You look at someone like Neil Wagner - he's got a big heart, a big engine, and keeps running. And that's what you want, you want guys who, time and time again, want to be putting themselves in that position, to keep wanting to create chances and keep trying to change the game."
England might've lost the series but have some positives to take back home, none as significant as Ollie Pope, who replaced the injured Jos Buttler in the XI and responded with a well-crafted 75 on debut. He might've dropped a straight forward chance off Ben Stokes to give Williamson a reprieve on the final morning, but his monumental 193-run stand with Root was enough to impress the skipper.
"Look, we didn't expect Jos to go down as late as he did, but it does happen," said Root. "And we knew that that could happen when we picked the squad. And, bar one mistake today, Ollie made a very good account of himself. He showed great maturity with the way he batted throughout his innings and proved why he got that opportunity."
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!