Jofra Archer has already delivered the world to English cricket – but he needs to grow up quickly, writes Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker.

So it turns out you can be the messiah and a very naughty boy. When Jofra Archer took a cheeky detour to his Brighton gaff for a quick blast before tea, in his head he was merely doing what schoolboys have been doing forever. But cutting the odd corner and bunking the odd last period isn’t meant to threaten the continual functioning of the world in which you live and work.

If Archer felt grim on the first morning, staring wistfully out of the window at his mates blanking him in the playground, then imagine how he must have felt a few hours later, flicking idly through his phone to see headlines flashing up courtesy of his boss that Archer’s behaviour could have jeopardised the whole summer, resulting in the loss of “tens of millions of pounds” in lost revenue and, well, precipitating the end of the game as we know it.

It could have been a “disaster”, said Ashley Giles, offering plenty of grist to the media’s dark satanic mills and ensuring that within a few minutes of his interview Archer was being portrayed, in some quarters – you know where to look – as nothing less than the enemy within. Twitter did its bit, of course, feeding the insatiable bloodlust of once ordinary people. In a swoop, one boy’s dim-witted mistake had been elevated to the gravest matters of church and state.

Giles’ interview was in fact much more sympathetic than those lines suggest. Some have pointed out that England’s men’s director of cricket should weigh his words a little more cutely – not least when they relate to a cricketer whose achievements can often seem not just taken for granted but disdained for having happened at all. But he was nonetheless right to highlight just how much of cricket’s short-term survival is riding on this precariously poised arrangement in front of us. With Pakistan’s cricketers buckling up in Derby, and the West Indians winning plaudits just for being here in the first place, Giles was right to point out the folly, and the potential consequences – however remote – of Archer’s foolishness.

Still, this is emphatically not the time to hang the kid out to dry, and Chris Silverwood struck a more avuncular tone when he suggested that the squad, far from shunning Archer, would be rallying around him. No one is unaware that five days in solitary – as Archer is currently facing due to protocol – will be a drain on anyone’s mental health at a time when such matters are being tested in extraordinary ways. Enforced separation, compounded by the vague murmurs of a game going on beyond his hotel room, will offer him plenty of space to scream and shout and kick himself.

As much as Archer effects a kind of loveable rosiness – as if this lark is just one long faintly surreal giggle – he will surely be stung and embarrassed by this one. And it’s worth lingering on that persona for a moment. Archer’s route to the summit of the game is much more circuitous and unusual than the sternly-delineated academy pathways of those he shares a dressing room with. His story offers English cricket a much-needed cultural counterpoint which, in combination with his gifts, affords him the room to play up, to glory in his difference. The brilliance of his skills with a cricket ball, and the odd super over, gives him, in his head, the moral licence to stand at square leg in a Test match with his jumper tied round his waist, and later tweet about girls and life like an adolescent magus. He’s impish, he’s cheeky, he’s the boy who gave the English the world.

And boy does he know it. His unaffectedness is remarkable. “What skills have you been working on, Jofra?” I remember gormlessly asking him a few days before the start of the World Cup. “Nuthin’,” came the answer from behind the shades. “Everythin’ I be doin’, I be doin’ my whole life.”

That answer is still up there with my all-time favourites. But it’s instructive too. For while the arrogance of success – Kohli, Richards, Warne – is naturally fetishised, if a cricketer’s not careful that arrogance can be twisted into something else, something that resembles egotism, or worse, selfishness. When the good times are flowing these distinctions don’t matter, but cricket has little truck with only good times, as Archer has just found out. The carefree style is at once seductive and dangerous.

In time, this episode will be filed away in that well-stocked morality box marked ‘A Good Thing’. In the end, only the most extreme moralists will triangulate this one into something darker than idiocy. But the childlike impishness skit may have run its course. Archer may still be young, thrillingly unusual, and a gift to the English game. But while this was a rookie error, he’s no rookie.

He may yet feature in the third Test. In the current climate, and considering the massive sacrifices that have been made by so many to get this show on the road, his absence for both games at Old Trafford would not be unreasonable. But England’s decision must be weighed against the strangeness of the time, with due consideration given to the psychological drain that comes with being cooped-up for weeks on end. By the end of this Test match, he may well have suffered enough. (At this rate, he won’t be alone.)

Joe Root will mark this one, ponder it, and let it go. He knows that while they may not be joined-at-the-hip cricketing blood brothers, they both need each other in a big way. Root will also feel the irony of his absence, for Archer’s spell on the final day at Southampton was up there with the best a 21st century fast bowler can offer. Having silenced a few of the depressingly predictable murmurs around his attitude and effort, Root would have been desperate to let him loose at Manchester.

He’ll be forgiven this one. But any more deviations, any more midnight rambles or flagrant rejections of the script that end up weakening the team’s delicately forged cohesiveness, and Archer will find that the law of the dressing room is only so lenient.