By Dan Barnes
IT’S nigh on impossible not to get aboard the Jofra Archer hype train – even his Sussex teammate Laurie Evans has been reeled in.
All eyes continue to be trained on the exciting Barbados-born paceman, who is waiting to see if regulations ruling him out of representing England until 2022 will be relaxed.
For the time being, Archer is occupying himself by terrorising batsmen at Hove and having witnessed the 23-year-old’s body of work up close, Evans is in no doubt that he shares a dressing room with someone very special.
“Jofra is a once-in-a-lifetime cricketer, I guess,” said Evans.
“He just seems able to perform to an extremely high level with relative ease. Everything that comes his way, he takes it in his stride.
“Last year, it was really evident. We played Middlesex in the T20 Blast in July and we were up against top batsmen in Brendon McCullum and Eoin Morgan, and it was obvious how much he wanted to get them out.
“That’s when you know that you’ve got a real star on your hands, when someone can sense that these are big wickets and then turn it up and perform against those big players.”
Former Surrey man Evans is in his second season at Sussex, having made the move from Warwickshire in the winter of 2016.
The 30-year-old journeyed to the South Coast in a bid to play more red-ball cricket and opportunities have thus far proven in short supply.
However, head coach Jason Gillespie and skipper Luke Wright have hoisted Evans – traditionally a middle-order specialist – up to No.3 in the T20 Blast and he is getting a real kick out of his new role in the firing line.
“Dizzy (Gillespie) and Wrighty spoke to me before the campaign,” said Evans, who hit 65 not out and 61 successively as the Sharks opened up their 20-over campaign with wins over Glamorgan and Essex.
“It’s something that I’ve really looked forward to and I thank them for the opportunity. Hopefully, I can repay them over the whole campaign. It’s always difficult moving counties – I sort of underestimated it. Last year, I was trying too hard and putting too much pressure on myself.
“I’ve always had quite high expectations. I want to do well and I’ve got aspirations.
“Although I haven’t played as much four-day cricket and that was the reason behind leaving Warwickshire, certainly for my one-day cricket it’s been a huge positive.”