Jofra Archer 'has learning to do' after tough New Zealand series, says Joe Root
"One thing for certain is that Jofra is a fantastic talent and there is no doubt he is going contribute massively for England in Test cricket. Hopefully we see him back at his best soon"
Last Updated: 03/12/19 6:46am
Joe Root says Jofra Archer still has "a lot of learning to do" in Test cricket after the seamer endured a trying tour of New Zealand.
Archer picked up 22 wickets in four Ashes Tests in England during the summer but managed only two in two games across 82 overs as Root's side were beaten by the Kiwis on batsman-friendly tracks.
However, Root has tipped the paceman, still only six matches into his Test career, to come back strong in the four-Test series in South Africa.
"Jofra has found out that Test cricket is hard, that you have to keep backing it up and that you can sometimes bowl extremely well and get no reward," Root told Sky Sports Cricket after his side's 1-0 series defeat.
"I said at the start of the tour that there is big expectation on him at the start of his career and that he still has a lot of learning to do.
"One thing for certain is that he is a fantastic talent and there is no doubt he is going to contribute massively for England in Test cricket.
"He has to want to learn and stay resilient mentally and physically as these conditions can wear you down.
"I expect him to bounce back strongly and he is a fast learner - he has proven that in domestic cricket around the world in franchise tournaments. Hopefully we see him back at his best soon.
"He showed a great amount of variety in trying to take wickets and produce opportunities [in this series]. He bowled with no front arm, bowled his knuckle balls, a couple of leg-cutters, a quick bouncer every now and again.
"It shows he's got all the skills that are there, it's now just putting it all together. I'm sure he'll learn very quickly."
England lost the opening Test to New Zealand in Mount Maunganui by an innings but rallied in the second in Hamilton before a combination of hundreds for Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor and wet weather wrecked their hopes of a series-levelling victory.
Root feels his side have made important strides and that his bowlers can take inspiration from New Zealand's Neil Wagner, who was named Player of the Series after bagging 13 wickets at 19.84 on docile pitches.
"The ideal scenario is that we learn, play extremely well and come away with a 2-0 win, so it has not worked out how we would have liked," said Root.
"But we have learnt a lot about the group and have done some really good stuff ahead of an important series in South Africa where points are up for grabs [in the World Test Championship].
"A lot of time with the ball we have managed to create pressure in different ways although we still want to be taking more chances.
"So there are little things we can still get better at but if you look at the two games there has been a vast improvement [since the first Test].
"We now have knowledge of what it can be like on surfaces like this with the Kookaburra ball and we have to take that forward into those four Tests.
"We are learning a lot and I think you have to learn from the opposition as well. Someone like Wagner has a big heart, big engine, keeps running in.
"That's what you want. Guys putting themselves in that position time and time again and wanting to create chances and change the game."
Surrey batsman Ollie Pope pressed his claims for a regular spot in the middle order after notching a battling maiden Test fifty in Hamilton, but opener Dom Sibley made scores of 22, 12 and four in his first three international innings.
"Ollie showed great maturity. He managed some very tricky periods throughout his innings," said Root, who shared a 193-run stand with Pope for England's sixth wicket.
"He is a very free-flowing middle-order batter but at times had to play within himself and manage situations and that was pleasing to see.
"Dom is at the beginning of his career and played against an experienced attack who know how to get the best out of the limited amounts in these surfaces. He will come away with some good experiences."
England will soon have to name their Test squad for the South Africa trip and Root says seamers James Anderson and Mark Wood, who are currently battling back to fitness, could be involved.
Wood, Anderson attend training camp
James Anderson and Mark Wood will continue their rehabilitation from injury at a specialist pace bowling camp in South Africa
The captain also says Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali, who missed the tour of New Zealand after being dropped and requesting a break respectively, could return, too.
"They are in South Africa now making sure they hit the ground running, getting ahead of the game and overs under their belts in those conditions," Root added of Anderson and Wood.
"That's promising with selection not far away and they will be pushing to make sure they are fit and ready if given the nod.
"Jonny is out there with them, doing work with coaches to make sure he is match-hardened if selected.
"We also know what Moeen has produced in Test cricket over his career. He is a fine, fine player and I'm sure he will be back and raring to go at some point."