Former captain Michael Atherton has termed Jofra Archer’s bio-secure bubble breach “very foolish” adding that the pacer’s irresponsible act has thrown the team’s plans into disarray.
Before the start of the second Test between England and West Indies in Manchester on Thursday, Archer was dropped from the squad after it emerged that he had visited home for an hour, resulting in the breach of strict protocols in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The pacer would be undergoing two Covid-19 tests during a five-day isolation period.
Archer apologised for the lapse in a statement released by England and Wales Cricket Board.
“It’s very foolish for a number of reasons. One, it cost him a place in the team. Secondly it’s thrown England’s plans into disarray, a vital Test match that they must win to try and win this series,” Atherton said on the Sky Sports Cricket broadcast.
“And thirdly it’s put at risk all the work that ECB have done. These six Test matches, three against West Indies, three against Pakistan, they’ve had to do a tremendous amount of work to get these games on.”
The ongoing series against the West Indies and the following duel against Pakistan next month are being played under strict protocols to maintain a healthy environment. The first Test against the Caribbean side in Southampton passed off without any incident.
Atherton said the players of both the sides involved in the series can’t afford to break rules as there is plenty of money at stake.
“Although the protocols might seem very severe, they’ve had to put those in place to get government approval for these games to happen,” said the 52-year-old Atherton.
“And as you know, from broadcast purposes, each of these games are worth about 20 million pounds to the ECB, the international summer as a whole about 180 million pound, that’s money for the game. So they can’t afford the players to break protocols,” he added.
Archer had already apologised for the lapse and Atherton said the matter should be laid to rest after the second Test, which started here on Thursday.
“He’s been foolish, he’s apologised profusely, and that will be the end of it,” the former right-handed opener said. “He should come back into the side, but he’s been foolish and it’s cost him his place here.”
(With PTI inputs)