JOFRA ARCHER: £800,000 IPL price tag puts more pressure on me than Test matches

For Rajasthan Royals it is now make-or-break time in the Indian Premier League and, although there will be different permutations in results which could see us lose another game and still make the play-offs, as far as I am concerned we have to look past mathematical equations.

From my perspective, we need to win all five remaining games to finish in the top four and have the chance of going through to the knockout stage.

We have been playing some very good cricket as individuals but not good cricket all together, and that’s why we have got close to winning so many games but haven’t crossed the line every time.

It is now make-or-break time for Jofra Archer at the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL

It is now make-or-break time for Jofra Archer at the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL

There is a lot of talent in this team and, if we start to put complete performances together, that will change.

The return of Ben Stokes should help with that. People were even excited when he went into six days of quarantine upon arrival in the UAE, because they knew he would soon be out there on the field.

He played his first game against Sunrisers Hyderabad last week, sooner than he would have liked — because he wanted to get conditioned and acclimatised. Let’s face it, it’s a bit hotter here than in New Zealand.

When he saw the position we were in, though, in need of a win, he didn’t think twice about playing and that’s the type of person he is. The kind of person you always want in the team.

Archer believes his team need to win all five remaining games to finish in the top four

Archer believes his team need to win all five remaining games to finish in the top four 

Personally, it has been a good tournament for me so far. Generally, whatever I have tried has come off.

I always believe that when it comes to cricket, the more good stuff you produce, the more chance you have of good stuff happening for you. And by being at the top of your game, you give yourself the best chance.

That doesn’t mean I can’t have a bad game. Anyone can. That is something you come to accept. Thankfully, I have managed to come out on the right side of things so far, but I know that the same good ball I bowl could go for a boundary.

I’ve had some good spells that, on other days, would have featured a few boundaries. An example came in our recent defeat by Delhi Capitals when Anrich Nortje was bowling to Jos Buttler. Nortje didn’t do much wrong and Jos hit him for a huge six, followed by two scooped fours. The best players can do that.

The pace bowler feels that he has had a good tournament so far on a personal level

The pace bowler feels that he has had a good tournament so far on a personal level

The standard is extremely high. While international cricket is the top level, I feel there is more pressure here in one regard because people know exactly what your price tag is (mine is £800,000). Sometimes you are expected to fulfil certain things because of that and simply can’t — that’s cricket.

But I am in a very good headspace, happy with how the ball is coming out and the fact I am high on the list of wicket-takers and among the best economy rates.

Rob Cassell, our bowling coach at the Royals, has been keen to encourage me to make regular use of the bouncer, and I guess he sees me as the leader of our attack. He’s always asking me to relate any information I may feel is useful to the other guys, what plans I think will be successful on a certain type of surface against particular batters.

I am probably the most experienced seamer in our group in terms of IPL games, so I guess that’s a pretty natural role for me.

Archer feels responsibility as the most experience seamer and 'leader' of his team's attack

Archer feels responsibility as the most experience seamer and ‘leader’ of his team’s attack

I have been enjoying the responsibility given to me by Rajasthan when it comes to batting, too. Why have I been successful? It’s just a question of opportunity. Obviously, for England I bat at 10 or 11, so I don’t get the same amount of balls to face.

In fact, a lot of the time, I don’t even get the chance to bat.

Over here, though, they have faith in my ability, and it’s a confidence boost to go in higher up. I even opened the batting against Bangalore a couple of years ago.

I enjoy trying to be destructive with the bat. Hitting the first or second ball you face for six is pretty hard, but gets easier if the ball is in your area.

I go out to the middle thinking, ‘If it’s in the slot, it’s going’. Against Chennai, I managed to hit four sixes in a row off Lungi Ngidi.

Someone pointed out to me that my strike-rate of 193 is the highest of any batsman in the competition to have faced 10 balls. Let’s just say, it’s a fun game when things are going your way.

But I anticipate that run-scoring will get harder as the competition reaches its latter stages, and pitches become tired, so expect teams to look to bat first and defend.

I have got my family out here with me for a month which helps. My mum always said she wanted to come out to Dubai. There has been some team bonding as well away from the field, and this week a dozen of us went out into the desert in dune buggies.

There was a prize for the best driver and apparently AJ Tye was our top man.

I am not sure how. It might have something to do with the fact that the guy who was in charge of ranking us was a passenger in his buggy…

Being at a hotel on the beach reminds me that I will be going back to Barbados for Christmas, having decided not to play in this year’s Big Bash League with Hobart Hurricanes.

There is plenty of work ahead with Rajasthan here and England in South Africa next month, and having been playing since July, I think I will have earned that break.

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