New Delhi: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has labelled England's Jofra Archer as an exciting talent but believes that since the bowler can be prone to injury, his workload needs to be managed.
"Archer is an exciting talent. He is strong but I believe he is the perfect candidate for being injury prone. With his action and speed, I believe he can have back injuries, so he needs to be preserved," Akhtar said in a video posted on his official Youtube channel on Monday night. "My suggestion will be to play him in fewer matches, he should not bowl 27 overs in an innings. What he cannot do in 14 overs, he won't be able to do it 27 overs," he stressed.
Archer, who hails from Barbados, was not picked up for the West Indies U-19 squad in 2014 and it was then that England's all-rounder Chris Jordon asked him to think about a career in England. "After a long time, a lethal fast bowler has come into the scene. Chris Jordon brought him from Barbados and told him to play for England. There's a contract within the England management that the player who does not abide by the team rules, then the ECB and management decides whether the player can come into the side or not," Akhtar said.
The 44-year-old Akhtar has been advocating the need for bowling bouncers to Australia's Steven Smith to take him out of his comfort zone. Akhtar hailed Archer's approach against Smith in the second test of the ongoing Ashes. "He is an express fast bowler. There's just one way to dismantle Smith, that is to bowl bouncers. Smith has a habit of moving around the crease, so there was no way of curbing the batsman than bowling bouncers to him. Archer tested Smith by bowling at his upper body," the former pacer said.
"When Smith got hit on the elbow, he looked shaky. Then Archer hit him on the neck, Smith was visibly taken aback," he pointed out. Smith received two blows on day four of the second Test match. First, he got struck on the elbow by Archer and soon after he received a hit on the neck by a bouncer from the pacer.
Physios from both England and Australia attended Smith, but the batsman had to leave the park to undergo a concussion test. A while later, the batsman made his way back to the crease. But on day five, Cricket Australia released a statement that Smith had suffered a delayed concussion and as a result, the batsman was ruled out of day five of the Test. Marcus Labuschagne was named as the concussion substitute in place of Smith.
Akhtar felt that Ashes can now take a turn with Archer's inclusion into the England lineup. However, he also said that Archer should have gone up to Smith to check up on him after striking him with a bouncer.
"I think Ashes will now take a turn. I believe fast bowlers should bowl with more intensity now. I thought Archer should have gone up to Smith to check up on him as Smith got hit very badly on the neck. Archer should have sympathised," he said.
Australia has a 1-0 lead in the Ashes and the team will take on England in the third Test at Headingley from August 22.