|South Africa v England – fourth Test|
|Venue: Wanderers, Johannesburg Dates: 24-28 January Time: 08:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Live text on the BBC Sport website and app.|
England captain Joe Root says Jofra Archer “is a big part of our dressing room” after Kevin Pietersen questioned the pace bowler’s treatment.
Archer, 24, played in the first-Test defeat by South Africa but missed the next two Tests, which England won.
Ex-England batsman Pietersen said in a newspaper interview: “Archer is copping it at the moment, and probably because he’s from the Caribbean.”
“He [Archer] is desperate to do well in Test cricket,” said Root.
“He’s desperate to learn and to develop. He loves the game and he loves the environment.
“We want to keep making sure that that’s a place he wants to keep being involved in.”
Barbados-born Archer took six wickets – including 5-102 in the second innings – in the opening Test of the series and, after missing the last two, could return from an elbow injury for the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg.
“It’s been a very frustrating tour for him for a number of reasons with his injury,” added Root.
“Also, someone at the start of his career coming to South Africa and taking a five-for and having to miss out on the next couple of games, is never an easy thing to take as a young player.
“There have been a number of learnings for him so far on this tour.
“We are very keen on making sure that we try to get the best out of Jofra – keep creating an environment where he can learn, develop and not stand still as a player and keep growing in Test cricket.”
Archer could play in the fourth Test along with fellow pace bowler Mark Wood as Root considers his starting line-up.
“It would be nice to see how they go together,” said Root.
“I think they would be a relentless barrage of pace which is exciting, especially on a surface such as you typically get here at the Wanderers.”
Root’s proudest moment?
Root captained England to a series win in Sri Lanka in 2018 but believes winning in South Africa would be his proudest moment as his country’s captain.
“I think it probably would be, yes, because of the different things we’ve had to manage throughout this tour,” said Root.
“It would be a very big achievement for this group.
“It’s been a tour that has thrown everything at us and I think collectively as a squad, not just the players but the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as much in control as we can.”
Article courtesy of BBC Sport