England cricket ace Jofra Archer’s stepdad flew to the UK to watch his lad play in the World Cup Final on Sunday (July 14) – thanks to the Sunday Mirror.
We stepped in to help as Patrick Waithe made a last-minute decision to come to London after watching Jofra’s demon bowling help to destroy Australia in Thursday’s semi-final.
Now he’ll be cheering him on today at Lord’s with the star’s mum Joelle as England face New Zealand.
“It’ll be an honour for me,” said Patrick, 52, who works for a Barbados bus firm. “I’m always so proud seeing him play.”
He had to return to his job in May after only seeing his stepson in a warm-up game. But he’s been getting up at 5am at their home near Bridgetown to follow England’s road to glory.
On Saturday night, Jofra, 24, was delighted to greet Patrick – the man who helped him hone his cricketing skills as a boy – as the family had a meal together.
Joelle told us the pace bowler – who has now taken more World Cup wickets than any other England bowler, breaking Sir Ian Botham’s record of 16 – has been helping her with shopping in the run-up to the game, trying to settle his nerves.
And she revealed how the seeds of West Indies-born Jofra’s dream of playing for England one day were sown in long summer visits to see his dad Frank in Peckham, South London, seven miles from where he’ll be trying to make history on Sunday.
“He has nice memories of playing cricket there as a child. We passed the pitch yesterday and he said he’d like to go back,” said Joelle.
But it was in Barbados where the talent that may bring England a first World Cup win in their first final for 27 years blossomed.
Patrick, who has brought Jofra up since he was nine, coached him on a wicket next to their house.
He said: “From where he’s come from to where he is, it’s amazing.” Jofra made the West Indies Under-19s but headed to England after losing his place in their 2014 World Cup squad.
He has played for Sussex since 2016 and got into the England team through his UK passport from his ex-London Underground driver dad.
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