Jofra Archer bowling well and quick ahead of West Indies series, says ‘bruised’ England batsman Zak Crawley

Zak Crawley believes Jofra Archer is in a 'good place' ahead of the West Indies series
Zak Crawley believes Jofra Archer is in a ‘good place’ ahead of the West Indies series (Pictures: Getty)

England batsman Zak Crawley insists Jofra Archer is bowling well and quick ahead of next month’s Test series against West Indies – and says he has the bruises to prove it.

Archer confirmed last week that the elbow injury which ruled him out of the final three Tests of England’s series win over South Africa last winter had fully healed.

The 25-year-old, who starred in last summer’s World Cup triumph, joined England’s 30-man training group at The Ageas Bowl on Thursday, having tested negative for coronavirus.

Archer trained with some of his England team-mates earlier in the month and will now hope to prove his fitness and form in the build-up to the opening Test of the summer which begins on July 8.

The early signs appear promising, with Crawley insisting both Archer and fellow pace bowler Ollie Robinson have bowled ‘really well’ in their brief battles in training so far.

‘Both of them have bowled really well,’ Crawley said. ‘It’s been great facing bowlers after weeks of just having throw-downs from coaches.

‘It’s great being back in the nets and to have top-quality bowlers, you can improve quite a lot just from facing them a couple of times.

‘Jofra’s bowling well and his pace was definitely up – I’ve got a couple of bruises to show for it. He’s in a good place I think.’

Crawley made his international debut against New Zealand last November and was promoted from number six to his natural position at the top of the order for the majority of the South Africa series after Rory Burns suffered an injury in training and was sent home.

Despite only averaging 32, the Kent batsman earned praise for his sound technique and ability to adapt in South Africa and then scored 43, 91 and 105 in warm-up matches in Sri Lanka to suggest a productive run in the subcontinent was well within his capabilities.

Crawley grew in stature during England's tour of South Africa
Crawley grew in stature during England’s tour of South Africa (Picture: Getty)

The coronavirus pandemic forced that tour to be cancelled, however, and Crawley’s hopes of retaining his place as one of England’s opener this summer have been dealt a blow after Burns – who impressed during last summer’s Ashes – returned to fitness.

Despite this, Crawley still has time to stake his claim for a place in England’s top-order, with the training group based in Southampton set to play an intra-squad match next week.

‘I don’t feel like the decision has been made yet, personally, although it might have been done,’ Crawley added on his selection hopes.

‘I definitely feel like the next couple of weeks in nets and the warm-up game are a good chance to stake my claim and put my best foot forward.

‘If I missed out and they all scored good runs [in the Tests] then it would be hard for me to work my way back into the side but there are six games to play this summer and I won’t give up hope if I’m not picked for the first Test.

‘I’ll train hard and work as hard as I can to get in that side.’

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