Passengers are climbing back on to their coach outside the Grace Gates. Their tour of Lord’s is over but some of the magic lingers.
One of the tourists wants one last memory before he disappears inside so he takes a run up and bowls a tennis ball between the cars queuing on the St John’s Wood Road to a friend waiting on the other side.
Above him, on the balcony walkway of the Tavern Stand, Jofra Archer strolls by.
The hero of the World Cup final, the man who smote Steve Smith, the bowler who has redefined England’s attack, our great hope for the future, is wearing his trademark gold chain around his neck.
Jofra Archer is remaining grounded despite the recent seismic summer for England cricket
He makes his way into the Dennis Lillee Box. Whoever arranged that as the venue deserves a medal. Archer gazes out at the Home of Cricket and its pavilion bathed in bright autumn sunlight.
I ask him what he thinks about when he looks out at that square, that outfield, that pavilion, that arena where he bowled the most important over of England’s cricket history, the Super Over against New Zealand that won his nation the World Cup for the first time. He does not give the obvious answer. You soon learn that about Archer. He is not easily led.
‘The summer didn’t come to mind firstly,’ he says. ‘I was just a bit — I wouldn’t say in awe — but it was just a bit weird seeing Lord’s from this angle. It’s a different perspective of the ground. When you play, you don’t look at it. You don’t look at the detail of it. You don’t look around much at all. You’re in the moment.
‘If you want to know what my favourite moment here is, it’s probably my hat-trick for Sussex in the T20 match against Middlesex last year. I had a hat-trick at Lord’s. Not many people know that. The Super Over is up there as well. That had greater magnitude and it may be what I’m remembered for but not a lot of people experienced the hat-trick with me.
Ben Stokes and Archer had been England cricket's twin titans in a summer to remember
‘That was my only hat-trick. I’ve been on a hat-trick a few times but I just never got it until then. It’s just special. You get two in two and the whole crowd is buzzing and then when you start your run-up for the third one, it is proper. It was a must-win game as well if we were going to qualify for Finals Day so it was a very good feeling.’
Archer, 24, was the face of our summer. He and Ben Stokes were English cricket’s twin titans.
It was as recognition for that and as anticipation for what he will go on to achieve that he was awarded his first central contract by the ECB on Friday, a Test and white-ball deal that could earn him up to £1million and will be one of the most lucrative in English cricket history.
Archer says it has been the best summer of his life and he smiles at the mention of the tourists outside. Some of them stopped him on the way in.
It happens more and more now. He was on Good Morning Britain a few hours earlier, he is doing something for the MCC later. The media commitments seem endless, the appetite for Archer stretching into perpetuity.
The media commitments seem endless and the appetite for Archer stretches into perpetuity
‘After the World Cup final I was walking back to my flat in Brighton and a gardener looked up when I walked past,’ he says. ‘He saw me and carried on and then he did this double take and looked up again. He said he had been watching the match with his kids the whole day. I’ve had a lot of people telling me they were glued to the television. I’ve got a few people telling me they have named their pets and their kids after me.’
His glorious place in our past is enshrined but we will not let him rest. He has already been informed that, even though he has only played four Test matches, he holds the key to our future, too.
Australian tracks will suit him, it has been said, so he has been told he will be the deciding factor in wresting back the Ashes in 2021-22.
He smiles a little wearily at that idea. He is not a fan of other people writing scripts for him. He is not the type of man to grin to order for a photograph.
‘I will never say I’m England’s saviour,’ he says. ‘I have played four Tests. I don’t think it’s fair for people to say we’re going to win the Ashes because of me. I’m only here to play. I’m only here to help the team. Cricket is a team sport and there is only so much I can do. Anyway, I’m going to have to get there first. I don’t know if I’ll be in the team by the time the Ashes come around again. I may not be fit. Two years away is a long time.’
Archer refuses to admit that he was England's saviour and said 'there is only so much I can do'
Archer will not be pigeon-holed.