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Jofra Archer tipped by Stuart Broad to play part in England's Ashes campaign

Senior England bowler also says decision to use 2017-18 Dukes ball is "logical" one

George Dobell
George Dobell
Jofra Archer takes part in a game of warm-up football, Malahide, May 2, 2019

Jofra Archer takes part in a game of warm-up football  •  Getty Images

Whatever issues Jofra Archer may have experienced in winning acceptance in England's ODI side, it seems the Test team has long been convinced of his potential value.
Certainly Stuart Broad, one of those seamers who may come under pressure for his Test place if Archer is in the mix, is in no doubt of the younger man's qualities. Not only does Broad expect Archer to break into England's Ashes squad this summer, he has revealed that he even sought his advice a few months ago when he was working on shortening his run-up.
"I can't see a way that Jofra doesn't play some sort of role in that Ashes series," Broad said at the launch of NatWest's 2019 #NoBoundaries campaign. "He has the rhythm, the style, the pace. He generates pace with ease, which is always exciting as a fast bowler. He has everything you would want in a fast bowler to succeed at the top level.
"He's got the character to play at the top level. I've seen him run in all day when things don't quite go his way, which is a good sign. I hope he's in front of The Oval pavilion lifting the Ashes urn come September because he's a very exciting cricketer."
Broad hadn't met Archer when he called him for a chat last year. But so impressed was he with the pace and rhythm achieved by Archer from a relatively short run, he asked a mutual friend for his number with a view to gaining some technical insights; a somewhat surprising request from a man with more than 400 Test wickets to a man without any. To put it in perspective, the other bowlers Broad approached were James Anderson and Richard Hadlee.
"I'd not actually met Jofra, but I got his number through Luke Wright," Broad said. "I messaged him because I loved the style of his run-up. It's short and he keeps his stride pattern. When he wants to generate a bit more pace he lengthens his run. It looks like he bowls well to left-handers from over and round the wicket."
Far from feeling threatened by Archer's emergence, Broad welcomed the addition to England's pace options. With five Tests against Australia and one against Ireland within eight weeks, he feels such reserves will be vital.
"There is a huge amount of cricket from that Ireland Test on July 24 to the middle of September and the end of the Ashes," Broad said. "So you're going to need a battery of fast bowers. The likes of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Archer - all members of the ODI squad at present - are all potentially going to play a lot of cricket over the next two months leading into a ridiculous amount of cricket in the period after that. We'll need a rotation of bowlers."
Broad also welcomed the news that the 2017-18 version of the Dukes ball will be used in the 2019 Ashes series. He admitted he spoke to Ashley Giles, the director of England's men's teams, to express his concerns over the quality of the new ball.
"I spoke to Gilo after the first two rounds of the County Championship and told him I didn't think the 2019 ball was international quality," Broad said. "It goes out of shape early and the period between 35 and 80 overs was dull.
"The last few seasons of Test cricket have been exhilarating, fun to play in and great to watch. So we didn't need to mess around with potentially seeing what a new ball might do in the men's Ashes.
"I don't think it's a pro-English decision, in that Australia have got Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood, who are all brilliant bowlers. I think it is a decision that makes cricket more interesting and exciting because, on a sunny day and on a dry pitch, the 2019 ball could result in games where 600 plays 600 and everyone shakes hands. It is a really sensible, logical decision."
Meanwhile Broad described Alex Hales, his sometimes England and Nottinghamshire team-mate, as "devastated" by the realisation he had ruined his chances of playing in the World Cup. But Broad said he backed the decision to drop Hales.
"In my opinion, the correct decision was made," Broad said. "He is very aware he has made a couple of dreadful decisions. He is very aware he has let himself down.
"I had him round the day after he came back from Cardiff. Just as a friend. He came round to chill and watch some football. He was naturally devastated having to come back.
"He seems okay but I think it will be hard for him once the World Cup kicks off. Because there will be a sense of 'this is what I am missing' and I am not sure he will have a lot of cricket going on in that period."
Stuart Broad was speaking at the launch of this year's NatWest #NoBoundaries campaign, which will see NatWest continuing its work to ensure cricket remains a game for all, offering access and opportunity to people no matter their background

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo