The Ashes: Windies legend Chris Gayle says England need a fit Jofra Archer in their Ashes side

West Indies legend Chris Gayle says although England play good, aggressive cricket they still need “express” Jofra Archer in their Ashes side this summer.

England captain Ben Stokes has indicated he wants eight fit seamers to call upon, all of whom can be rotated to share the burden, with Olly Stone, Mark Wood and Archer providing the express pace options.

However, Archer hasn’t played a test since March 2021 and only returned to international cricket earlier this year after an absence of nearly two years, owing to elbow and back injuries which both put his career in jeopardy.

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Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton takes a closer look at Australia’s Ashes squad and expects England to target an out of form David Warner

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England captain Ben Stokes says that his side won’t change the way they play against Australia in the Ashes

There is hope that Archer will be able to play an important part in this summer’s Ashes series, which starts on June 16 at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports.

“The cricket England play now is fantastic. They play good, aggressive cricket,” Gayle told Sky Sports‘Craig Slater at the Miami GP. “Brendon McCullum brings something special to the England Test side.

“[Australia] have the World Championship final against India that’s going to be interesting so I’m looking forward to it.

“The Ashes is always going to be interesting with Australia and England so I think it will be a good game of cricket to watch and hopefully I’ll be there.”

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Former England bowler, Ashley Giles and managing director of the England side, Rob Key have differing opinions on whether Australia’s Steve Smith should be allowed to play county cricket in England ahead of this summer’s Ashes

Discussing Archer’s injury woes, Gayle added: “It’s sad to see. He’s been out for a long time but it’s good to see him back on the field.

“He missed a few games in the IPL. England need him; world cricket needs him as well. We need an express, entertainment from a fast bowler. I wish him all the best.”

Key backs Jofra Archer to have ‘massive’ impact

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Australia’s Steve Smith does not expect England to change the way they play as they head into the Ashes series this summer

England managing director Rob Key has predicted that Archer will have a “massive impact” this summer.

“We’re going to select for the Ireland Test, so hopefully he’ll be available for selection for that, at this point I’m assuming he will be,” said Key speaking at the Bob Willis Fund golf day.

“We expect Jofra to be a massive part of that, and I think Jofra at some point will have a massive impact in the Ashes.”

When is the Ashes?

Stokes will lead England for the first time in an Ashes series, with the hosts looking to regain the urn for the first time since 2015, and – after a four-day test against Ireland – it will all begin at Edgbaston on June 16.

The series will then move onto Lord’s (June 28-July 2) and Headingley (July 6-10), the scene of Stokes’ 2019 heroics, before finishing at Emirates Old Trafford (July 19-23) and The Kia Oval (July 27 -31).

Watch every match from the men’s and women’s Ashes live on Sky Sports. You can also follow videos and over-by-over text commentary across Sky Sports’ digital platforms. Live coverage of the first Test is live from June 16-20 on Sky Sports Cricket.