For all his talent, Jofra Archer must grow up quickly for England

There is no sport in which being a good tourist matters more than cricket.No sport in which the players spend longer away.

No sport in which easy interaction with the group is more key. An individual has to be extraordinarily good to be high maintenance in cricket. Jofra Archer is a very good player but breaking bio-secure bubble jeopardised England’s Tests RELATED ARTICLES

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Jofra Archer is very, very good. And England’s players like him, there is no doubt of that. Yet it is equally true his behaviour this week has scuppered their best-laid plans; undermined and weakened them in a Test they must not lose to stay in the series. He could have cost his sport millions, too, in a summer when it does not have that money spare.

So, for all his talent, Archer needs to grow up, and quickly. He’s inexperienced but no baby. He’s 25. He should not have needed retelling cricket’s Covid-19 protocols had to be strictly observed.Archer, the ECB were quick to point out, was very sorry for his actions but he needed to be.
No sport had to jump through hoops like cricket to get going this year. No sport worked harder to get the game on. It would not be exaggerating to say the very future was at stake if not a ball had been bowled.Playing international cricket this summer is worth £180million. Each Test is worth £20m, even without crowds.

That is why the rules are so rigid. That is why there are tracking devices and biosecure areas and designated places on the motorway to stop for a break between venues.  Former West Indies bowler Michael Holding was particularly critical of Archer’s actionsThis is what was needed to play.

What if Archer’s ill-discipline had made West Indies skittish? What if he’d placed the match in jeopardy? No wonder the management team are said to be furious.Allies were hard to find. Michael Holding came off his long run again when asked to sympathise with young men cooped up in four-star hotels for weeks on end.

‘I don’t understand why people can’t just do what is required,’ said Holding, stone-faced. ‘Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a cell and he did nothing wrong — that is sacrifice.’Extreme, certainly, but the principle remains.

A lot of cricket is about just doing what is required. On the field but also in the endless days off it. Sticking together as a team; a group, putting ego aside, being self-sufficient, requiring the lightest touch.A great England side fell apart because personalities began clashing and players struck out as individuals.

One can only imagine the consternation as Archer revealed he had gone in the opposite direction to the rest of the squad, eastwards along the coast from Southampton to Hove.His previous infractions have been minor, almost endearing: a spin on a Segway, pre-match; wearing his jumper tied around his waist like a second XI bowler.

This is different.Archer’s time in isolation should be spent reflecting on what it is to be a Test cricketer. It means being a good tourist, even when you’re at home. With each Test worth around £20million, the ECB went to great lengths to hold the games   CHELSEA MUST DIG DEEP TO MAKE JAN THEIR MAN Alisson has undoubtedly been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, but many would argue the world No 1 is Jan Oblak of Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea are believed to want him, but there is a problem. Oblak has a £120million buy-out clause in his contract, which has another three years to run, and to meet it would inflate the world record fee for a goalkeeper by more than 40 per cent. Maybe the financial consequences of Covid-19 could make Atletico more amenable to doing business for less than the buy-out, but they are still in this season’s Champions League and look certain to qualify for the competition next season.Chelsea, however, have already demonstrated they will pay top price for a goalkeeper.Their record £71.5m for Kepa Arrizabalaga has not been justified, but Oblak would be a game-changer. Chelsea would have to spend a world record £120million to sign Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak  INGS FIRST AMONG GOALSCORERS The season that Leicester won the league, Jamie Vardy scored their first goal on 14 occasions — and on 12 it was also the first goal of the game. It is worth noting, then, that 16 times this season Danny Ings has scored the first for Southampton — with nine of them the game’s first goal, too.

Of course, Leicester then were a much better side than Southampton now, so Vardy’s hard work brought greater returns — but Ings’ feat should not go unheralded. In this field, he is five goals ahead of his nearest rival, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal.
It might not win him a place in the England team, but for Southampton he’s been priceless.   Danny Ings has made a superb contribution for Southampton and should not be undervalued  EFL WILL PUNISH AMBITION…

BUT SUPPORT FAILURESteve Bruce knew that Sheffield Wednesday’s owners wanted to invest in the club. He also knew Football League rules restricted them, which was one of the reasons why he left for Newcastle.The attempted funding brought an EFL charge and now there is the possibility Wednesday could be relegated instead, for the crime of ambition.If the EFL repeat the nine-point deduction for Birmingham last season for financial misconduct, Wednesday will be level with Charlton, who are one place above the bottom three.

If they deduct 12 points, which some rivals are privately advocating, they will be in the relegation zone; deduct 20 and they would be gone.And who might survive instead? Possibly Hull City where, far from investing, the club’s owners are systematically stripping its worth.  Steve Bruce was aware Sheffield Wednesday’s owners were restricted in their investmentThey sold their two best players, Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki to West Ham and West Brom in the January transfer window, and failed to agree terms with captain Eric Lichaj and vice-captain Jackson Irvine, to continue post-lockdown. Hull have never recovered from the debacle over renaming the club Hull Tigers, with the owners taking their frustration out on fans by ending concessionary tickets and curtailing investment. This week, Hull lost 8-0 to impoverished Wigan, and were 7-0 down at half-time.

The club does not even own its stadium, but has been on the market six years, at the unappealing price of £40m. And yet this is all perfectly fine with the EFL. Indeed, Hull may remain in the Championship at the expense of a club, and a board, that genuinely wants to grow and move forward.This, apparently, is financial fair play.

It sucks.  REMEMBER THE EARLY DAYS RORYRory McIlroy is in danger of losing his No 1 status at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio, but his explanation for erratic form post-lockdown is bizarre.McIlroy claims he finds it hard to focus without the presence of a gallery, that his mind wanders without the energy and atmosphere.How, then, did he become a scratch golfer?

Did he have hordes following him when he was trying to get down from 24 as a junior, was he overwhelmed by numbers in his early amateur outings? If the answer to these questions is no — and it is — maybe he should revisit the mind-set that got him on to the professional tour, and just do that. Rory McIlroy has complained about the lack of a gallery as the golf season returned  Given they were tipped for relegation, Wycombe’s promotion to the Championship is a brilliant achievement for the club and manager Gareth Ainsworth.Never forget what it took to get them there, though: a points per game calculation so flawed it presumed Wycombe would take 1.73 points from a visit to Coventry, who would also collect 1.97 points.

So a 3.7 point game.Wycombe did marvellously, but Rick Parry’s continued status as a football brain — that’s the real miracle. EFL chairman Rick Parry’s status as a football brain is mystery after end to League One season  NO SUBSTITUTE FOR UEFA MONEYAlthough the order from on high is that five substitutes will be allowed next season, it is by no means guaranteed that this will be the case everywhere.Premier League clubs are divided on the issue, with many feeling the elite then get an additional dividend from expensive talent in depth, while UEFA have intimated their competitions will revert to three subs, once the exceptional 2019-20 campaign is concluded.No surprise, then, that this is an idea being driven by FIFA, who have previously debated dividing the game into quarters to allow extra commercial breaks.

The cloak is player welfare, the reality is money, money, money. Where FIFA’s Gianni Infantino is concerned, it invariably is.  FIFA have announced their Qatar World Cup schedule which, with the tournament truncated, will feature four matches each day.
Given the time difference, there will be games at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm in the United Kingdom. All the more reason to stay home. When Sports Illustrated produced its famous ‘overrated…underrated’ edition, the most overrated place to watch the match was the stadium, the most underrated place was on the sofa. It was intended to be tongue in cheek.

This time, however, they could be right. The schedule for the controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar has finally been revealed  MIND THE GAP…

MANCHESTER CITY WILL FIGHT It is not the worst thing that Liverpool can no longer beat Manchester City’s record of 100 points. As it stands, City have that accolade, Liverpool won the league in the fewest games, Arsenal are the only unbeaten champions of the post-Victorian era, and Manchester United are the sole treble winners.It would have been a pity if one team had swept the board and erased all of that history.

But there is one major record still available — that of the biggest title-winning margin, also held by Manchester City with 19 points in 2017-18.To guarantee keeping it, City must beat Watford and Norwich. Any point dropped could let Liverpool in. So while their title may have been surrendered long ago, it would be wrong to suggest City have nothing to play for. Despite losing the title, Manchester City can still fight to keep certain records alive  West Indies players will receive £1,875 each if they win the Test series, against £32,500 for England’s players.This is because the financial division in Test cricket makes second-class citizens of most tourists. Lapel badges announcing what matters are all well and good, but a sport that was really interested in change wouldn’t allow such disparity.  West Indies will receive considerably less per Test than England should they win the series  TAKING GAMBLING FIRMS OFF SHIRTS IS NO SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMWhen the season began there were 10 Premier League teams with betting companies sponsoring their shirts.Name them.

Not the clubs, the bookmakers. In all likelihood, you can’t. Most of them aren’t even aimed at the UK market.Who knows their W88 (Aston Villa) from their M88 (Bournemouth), their LoveBet (Burnley) from their Dafabet (Norwich)?A new Gambling Act is likely to outlaw shirt sponsorship in English football, but what difference will that make?

The constant advertising around sports broadcasts is more eye-catching than a set of unfamiliar characters on a bland, black every kit, the type all clubs seem to wear these days. Outside the Premier League, 17 of 24 Championship clubs have a betting company as shirt sponsor.

At a time of financial crisis losing that revenue from such a competitive market could be very harmful.‘Sponsorship needs to be something that is far more family-friendly instead of things that can cause addiction,’ said Carolyn Harris, Labour MP for Swansea East and head of the all-party parliamentary group for gambling-related harm. Aston Villa are one of 10 Premier League clubs sponsored by betting companies‘It’s the messaging that’s really important.

It’s a family environment and therefore the sponsorship needs to come from a family organisation. It’s one of the most obvious things to do.’Actually, football isn’t a family environment. There are families there, but in a minority.
And who gets to define a family organisation anyway? Standard Chartered, sponsors of Liverpool, have recently backed the security crackdown by China in Hong Kong.Are they any more suitable for family consumption than Everton’s SportPesa?There are many ways to reduce gambling-related harm, but the majority require controls and intrusions on personal liberty that this Government finds so difficult.Far easier to take ManBetX off the shirts at Crystal Palace, cop an easy headline and think you’ve solved a problem.  Reconciliation makes perfect sense for UEFA and CityThat a positive conversation between Manchester City and UEFA began as early as Monday, hours after the Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict, should not come as a surprise.In November, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was City’s guest for a Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk, and sat next to City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak. There has always been a sense UEFA’s fight with City was not entirely his.Michel Platini’s UEFA regime implemented financial fair play and, while Ceferin is supportive, his attitude seems less dogmatic. At the time of his re-election last year he spoke of adapting FFP ‘so that every European club can exploit its full development potential’.In March, he admitted the financial challenges of Covid could lead to a relaxing of FFP rules.

‘We have suspended some conditions, we will not scrap the entire concept, but it must be helping, not an obstacle — we will be flexible.’ Neither side wants a war and both sides have been scarred by this. Reconciliation now makes perfect sense. RELATED ARTICLES

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