Kevin Pietersen has urged England to look after Jofra Archer amid questions surrounding his commitment to Test match cricket.
Archer, the 24-year-old fast bowler, has endured a difficult start to life in the longer format following a meteoric introduction to international cricket.
He has missed the second and third Tests in South Africa due to an injury – and it remains to be seen whether he will play any part in Johannesburg in the final match of the series, which has been delayed due to rain.
Pietersen suggests England are feeding rumours to the media to question Archer’s desire to play Test match cricket.
And the former batsman, who was infamously axed from the England set-up following a dramatic fall-out, says this is how it all began when his international career turned sour.
Pietersen told talkSPORT: “There are whispers in the press box. Is he actually injured? Does he want to play Test cricket? The murmurings that are coming out of the dressing room about Archer.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to stop. I just think it’s sad that Jofra Archer is spoken about [like this] because he should be looked after.
“I never used the word racism. I just see a superstar in the environment being treated in a similar way to how all my nonsense started.
‘Don’t talk about the nonsense of his elbow, don’t talk about about him being late to team meetings, don’t talk about all the garbage. Don’t let it filter up here into the press box.
“Just ask him if he wants to play Test cricket. If he just wants to play ODIs and T20s, so be it. It’s his life.”
The Barbados-born bowler, who only became eligible for England selection in March 2019, illuminated England’s summer with electrifying pace during their World Cup victory.
He bowled the all-important super-over during the thrilling triumph over New Zealand in the final, but has struggled to reach similar heights in the red ball game.
While Archer is capable of bowling up to 97mph, his speed has dropped in Test cricket, leading to questions over whether he can adapt to the longer format.
Piertersen added: “Get the best out of Jofra Archer. With my situation, who won? I lost out on five years of an international career.
“ECB had one of the biggest public relations disasters that they’ve ever had. No-one won.
“They’re not going to win with Archer. If he decides he can’t be bothered, he’s going to earn a hell of a lot of money playing franchise cricket. Trust me, I did it. There’s a lot of money out there.
“Archer’s job should be to bowl three or four overs at 155kph.
“Archer’s position in the team is the enforcer. That’s how he should be used. Let other guys bowl line and length.
“But find out if he wants to play Test cricket, if he doesn’t prioritise his ODIs and T20s.
“Let him bowl as fast as he can and create special days like he did at Lord’s in July last year.”