With the double blow of losing the first Test as well as their premium bowler James Anderson, England are struggling to keep their spirits high in the ongoing Ashes series. Now, the fans and some of the experts have pinned their hopes on Jofra Archer for turning the campaign around for the hosts. Archer is an immensely exciting bowler and on top of the world right now after his heroics in the World Cup. But will he prove to be an equally good performer in the longest format?
The answer to this question isn't going to satisfy too many English fans as it is simply: We don't know! He was always likely to prove very effective in the ODI format as he had performed extremely well in T20 leagues around the world. The set of skills that made him a superstar of the shortest format were bound to prove very useful in the 50-over version as well. But there is no guarantee that those skills would be of great value in Test matches.
Yes, he has pace which is always a big asset for teams, especially those who struggle to get rid of tailenders easily. It was this inability to get rid of tailenders that cost England badly in the first Test. However, just pace isn't going to be enough against a team like Australia as they are not completely unfamiliar with high-class bowling at good speeds.
His yorkers and slower balls are very effective in ODIs, especially death overs, but in a Test match, where there is no pressure of scoring quickly, they will be merely occasional variations. Getting a wicket in this format requires bowling a consistent line and length and developing good plans. Whether Archer has those traits in his bowling also, we are yet to see.
What would work in his favour is the fact that he has experienced the most high-pressure and tense situation that any player can come across. This experience of holding his nerve in the World Cup final would prevent him from feeling any giddiness when taking the field for his first Ashes Test.
He also seems to be a mature bowler who remains calm. But wickets in Tests won't come as easy as in the shorter formats. Will he be able to sustain his focus, speed and precision throughout a long day to see his side home? That's the big question and the answer to which may decide whether England are able to fight back or not. For the moment, to regard him as England's greatest hope would be premature.