England's Jofra Archer
England's Jofra Archer Image Credit: AFP

All-rounder Ben Stokes says the England management must support fast bowler Jofra Archer who was excluded for the second Test against the West Indies following his bio-secure protocol breach.

Archer went home to Brighton between the first and second Tests of the ongoing three-match series against the West Indies, contravening strict guidelines. He was subsequently ruled out of the second Test being played at the Old Trafford. He will now undergo two COVID-19 tests during the five-day isolation period, which have to test negative before his self-isolation period is lifted.

“For us as players, and as the England cricket group, this is a time where our way of operation really needs to come through,” Stokes, who scored 176 to guide England to 469-9 declared in their first innings of the ongoing second Test, was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“We really need to there to support Jofra right now, because obviously he’s a big talking point, and he is by himself because of everything else going on at the moment.”

“But it’s about making sure that he doesn’t feel like he’s by himself,” he added. “The worst thing that we can do right now, as a team, is to just leave him and say ‘see you in five, six days’ time’.

“Times like these for people are very, very tough. You can feel like you are all by yourself, but I don’t think anybody is going to allow that to happen. Jofra is a massive part of this group, as everybody is. If it was anybody else like Jofra, it would be exactly the same way of handling as a team.”

Archer has already apologised for his actions.

“I am extremely sorry for what I have done,” Archer was quoted as saying in an ECB statement.

“I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble.

“It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry,” he added.