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Anderson hoping Archer will show mental strength



Firing line: Jofra Archer has received online abuse after infringement

Firing line: Jofra Archer has received online abuse after infringement

Getty Images

James Anderson

James Anderson

Getty Images

Firing line: Jofra Archer has received online abuse after infringement

James Anderson sympathises with the backlash Jofra Archer has faced on social media but is hopeful his England team-mate will be available for the #raisethebat series decider against the West Indies this week.

Archer missed England's series-levelling win at Emirates Old Trafford after being withdrawn from the squad and placed in isolation for five days for breaching the team's bio-secure protocols.

The 25-year-old was fined and given a written warning following an unauthorised trip to his flat in Hove, and he revealed that he has since faced criticism and some racist abuse.

Amid the fallout, Archer said he needed to make sure he was "100% mentally right", casting some doubt on whether he will be ready for the third and final Test against the Windies.

With the series poised at 1-1, Anderson is confident both he and Archer can take the field tomorrow, but thinks his team-mate must first sit down with captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood to assess the situation.

"We've not seen much of him because he's been in isolation for a few days. I'm sure he'll want to play in this game because it's such a crucial game, the series is resting on it," Anderson said.

"He's said about his frame of mind and that's something that over the next two days he's going to have to sit down with the captain and coach and figure out if he's in the right place to play."

Archer has featured in just eight Tests, taking 33 wickets at an average of 28.12 with three five-wicket hauls, but has come in for some scrutiny online due to some inconsistent displays.

"It's always something that can be difficult for guys coming into the international set-up because I think the scrutiny is very different, you do feel more under the spotlight," Anderson added.

"It's just finding coping methods for that, finding ways of dealing with the extra attention.

"I was fortunate when I came in that there was no social media back then, but the way people can get their opinions out there, it's quite visible."

Ben Stokes came to the fore as England levelled the series against the Windies with contrasting innings of 176 and 78 not out, as well as three wickets, which helped him go to the top of the Test all-rounder rankings.

Since the start of 2019, Stokes has averaged 55.12 with the bat and 28.85 with the ball and Anderson already rates his team-mate ahead of Andrew Flintoff as the best all-rounder he has ever played alongside.

Anderson said: "He's certainly the best all-rounder I've ever played with and he's becoming the best all-rounder that England's ever had."

Belfast Telegraph