Jofra Archer’s breach of the coronavirus regulations was a potential “disaster” that could have cost “tens of millions of pounds”, according to England managing director Ashley Giles.
Archer was dropped from the England side for the second Test against West Indies after it emerged he had broken his journey between the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford by making a brief but unauthorized visit to his home in Brighton. While Archer insists he was only at home for around an hour, he is understood to have had contact with at least one other individual. As a result, he exposed himself and, as a consequence, potentially everyone else involved in the series to an increased threat of the Covid-19 virus. Archer is currently in isolation in his hotel room at the ground in Manchester. He will not be allowed any face-to-face contact for five days. He is expected to be reintegrated into the full squad the day after the second Test is scheduled to end. The curtains in his hotel room, looking across the Old Trafford pitch, remained closed on Thursday.
Now Giles, the managing director of the England men’s teams, says Archer will have to undergo a disciplinary process which could result in a longer absence from the game. “This could have been disaster,” Giles said. “The ripple effect from this small act could have cost us tens of millions of pounds. The potential knock on effect I don’t think Jofra could have understood. We made it clear what we expected but maybe he did not quite understand. There has to be consequence to every action and there will be a process we go through. There will be a disciplinary process. That is as much as I want to say on that as it is an employment matter.” But while Giles was clear that Archer had erred in his judgment, he was keen to record his support for a player he regards as “a great asset to this team”.
The trip came to light when Archer mentioned it, in passing, to a member of the support staff at training on Wednesday. That member of the support staff felt it was their duty to inform the medical staff and from there matters escalated quite quickly. Some members of the team management were informed at around 10pm on Wednesday night, while the players were informed at 7.50am on the morning of the game. Archer claims he only saw one other person and they were quickly contacted and tested. The test result was negative. Opener Dom Sibley took some off the focus off Archer with an unbeaten 86 as England ended Thursday’s first day in Manchester on 207-3 after slumping to 29-2.
West Indies need to win just one of the two remaining matches to secure their first Test series victory in England for 32 years.