Laid-back Jofra ‘will handle Ashes heat’
Jofra Archer has proven he thrives under the pump and England are confident their World Cup hero will do so again while making one of the most pressure-laden debuts in 142 years of Test cricket.
Archer has recovered from a side strain and is set to face Australia in the second Ashes Test, which starts at Lord's on Wednesday.
The showpiece Test in the showpiece series is a unique occasion for any cricketer taking part, let alone a 24-year-old debutant replacing England's all-time leading wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson in the local XI.
The burden on Archer is also immense because of England's great expectations that he can rattle Steve Smith, whose twin tons at Edgbaston handed Australia a 1-0 series lead.
Shane Warne and Michael Atherton have both backed Archer's express pace to challenge Smith in a way England's bowlers failed to in Birmingham.
Jos Buttler, who has watched Archer go from strength and strength since calling him an Indian Premier League teammate prior to the World Cup, believes the right-armer's relaxed demeanour will help ensue he handles the heat.
"There's no big expectations on him from within, but he tends to cope with those things quite well," Buttler said.
"He's a pretty laid-back character.
"If he gets his chance, I expect him to perform really well.
"You've seen what he can do in the Big Bash and obviously the IPL as well, so he's well versed in pressure situations and big games."
Archer was England's leading wicket-taker in their triumphant World Cup campaign, which ended with him being chosen to deliver a super-over after the tied final.
Buttler suggested it would be wrong to think of the fast bowler as a limited-overs specialist.
"He's got amazing skills with the white ball but ... he prefers bowling with the red one," he said at the launch of Kookaburra's new SmartBall, which records data from a microchip in the pill.
"That's exciting for us. He just brings that x-factor."
Archer, Buttler, Smith and England vice-captain Ben Stokes all played for Rajasthan during this year's IPL.
"He's a really good guy," Archer said of Smith during the World Cup.
"I'd like to consider he thinks of me ... (as a friend).
"But until the game is over, there will be nothing friendly."
Australia will lean on Smith plus Archer's Big Bash teammates Tim Paine and Matthew Wade as the they prepare to face the speed demon.
"We know he's quality bowler but we're ready," Marnus Labuschagne said.
The hosts are upbeat Archer and recalled left-arm spinner Jack Leach, picked in place of Moeen Ali, are able to subdue Smith.
Buttler noted it is vital his attack remains patient bowling to the in-form batsman.
"If you can't do that, he's obviously a fantastic player who can take advantage," he said.
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