England bowler Jofra Archer admits everyone feared the worst after he floored Steve Smith with a 92mph bouncer at Lord’s during last year’s Ashes series.
Smith escaped with concussion following the brutal blow – and even came back out to bat that day – but Archer reveals were immediate concerns in light of the tragic death of Phil Hughes in 2014.
Australia batsman Hughes died aged 25 after being hit on the neck by a bouncer during in Sydney – and Archer’s delivery struck Smith in an alarmingly similar spot.
“In the moment, it was hard to tell where it actually hit him, because the ball went to fine leg quite quickly,” Archer told Drive on talkSPORT.
“My first reaction was that it hit the helmet, but a few seconds after he went down, everyone was like, ‘Oh no’.
“We had the stuff with Phil [Hughes] a few years ago and, generally, anything that hits you in that vicinity is going to be trouble.
“I’m just glad that he came out on the other side of it and batted in two games.”
Smith was a constant thorn in England’s side as Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 draw in last summer’s series, although he was forced to sit out of the third Test due to concussion protocol.
The roughing up in the second Test by Archer, who reached brutal speeds of 96mph, was the only time Smith appeared uncomfortable.
While they proved the best of foes for their epic duel at Lord’s, Archer and Smith are actually close friends following their time as teammates in the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals.
It’s for that reason that Archer was pretty much the only person unsurprised when Smith staggeringly returned to the crease within minutes of being floored.
“I wasn’t surprised when he came back out to bat because I played with him in India and we all know he’s mad for cricket,” Archer added.
“To be honest, even if he didn’t come out then, he would’ve come out as the last batsman.
“The concussion wasn’t so weird because they only brought in new rules recently.
“I was just upset that the replacement batsman came in and batted so well!”