Jofra Archer was today kicked out of the second Test match against West Indies after putting his England squad at risk by flouting coronavirus protocols.
It is thought Archer, 25, made a 100-mile round detour trip home in Hove to visit his girlfriend while driving from Southampton to Manchester on Monday.
The England fast bowler and hero of last year's World Cup victory then posted a cryptic meme on Twitter yesterday featuring a photograph of himself taken during England's net session which read: 'Her: Drop the attitude or leave' then 'Me' - with the picture of Archer giving a sly glance to the camera.
Archer was booted out of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford today after reportedly leaving England officials 'fuming' over his unauthorised detour.
He will now have to commence five days of isolation and undergo two COVID-19 tests in that period which will have to be negative if he is to have any chance of playing in next week's third Test match.
'I am extremely sorry for what I have done,' said Archer in an ECB statement. 'I have put not only myself but the whole team and management in danger.
Jofra Archer was today kicked out of the second Test match against West Indies after putting his England squad at risk by flouting coronavirus protocols. It is thought 25-year-old Archer (pictured with his girlfriend Druanna Butler at a paint festival in Barbados last summer), made a 100-mile round detour trip home in Hove to visit his girlfriend on Monday
The fast bowler and hero of last year's World Cup win was booted out of the Test at Emirates Old Trafford this morning after reportedly leaving England officials 'fuming'. His unauthorised detour breached strict regulations which have made this cricket season possible
The England fast bowler then posted a cryptic meme on Twitter yesterday featuring a photograph of himself taken during England's net session which read: 'Her: Drop the attitude or leave' then 'Me' - with the picture of Archer giving a sly glance to the camera
'I fully accept the consequences of my actions and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble.
'It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down and again I am sorry.'
The journey from the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, where England's players lived in a 'bio-secure bubble' during the first Test, to Hove is about 60 miles - which suggests that Archer's detour could be as much as 120 miles in total.
It is believed the players were permitted to leave the Ageas Bowl at a time of their choosing and drive themselves up to Manchester.
A Hove resident told MailOnline that they had seen Archer 'puttering around Hove on a tiny scooter', adding: 'It seems to his preferred mode of transport.
Jofra Archer pictured dancing (left) and posing for a picture (right) with girlfriend Druanna Butler at a paint festival in Barbados last summer
The players drove from the Ageas Bowl near Southampton to Old Trafford in Manchester - a journey of 227 miles lasting about four hours if the most direct route is taken
The detour from the Ageas Bowl to Archer's home in Hove added another 120 miles to the trip
'It makes for quite an incongruous sight as he's this really tall guy on a tiny scooter with his knees round his ears,' they said.
'He was seen before the recent test match. I think he has got a girlfriend but I'm not sure if she lives round here or in London.'
Archer only informed a senior member of England staff last night - 48 hours after his detour - and it was immediately passed on to management.
The bowler's representatives were informed of his exclusion early today.
MailOnline understands the players were aware their journeys north would be tracked, although it was not obvious how amid suggestions that the bluetooth trackers they wear while on site at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford do not have the capacity to work over longer distances.
Druanna Butler (pictured) has known the cricketer for several months, their social media activity shows, and was revealed to be his girlfriend in July last year
Druanna Butler (left) was revealed to be England bowler Archer's girlfriend last year
Archer posted a cryptic meme on his Twitter account featuring a photograph of himself taken during England's net session yesterday.
It read: 'Her: Drop the attitude or leave' then 'Me' with the picture of Archer giving a sly glance to the camera.
Archer's exclusion is a huge blow for England and Archer, who was back to his best in the second innings of the first Test at the Ageas Bowl that England lost.
The players have had to stay confined to their on-site hotel at Hampshire's ground in Southampton for two weeks before the Test as part of the extensive bio-secure measures that were necessary to make international cricket possible.
Then they travelled by separate cars from Southampton to Manchester before entering a new bubble at the on-site hotel at Old Trafford on Monday and it is during the journey that Archer's breach took place.
A designated stop-off for food was arranged for the players en route.
Speaking on Sky Sports, former West Indies bowler Michael Holding had little sympathy for Archer.
'None, not at all. Sacrifice? Nelson Mandela being locked up for 27 years for doing nothing. That's sacrifice.'
He added: 'I want to ask a few questions of the ECB and these protocols: why aren't the England team travelling on a bus?
'If they have passed their COVID tests, everyone is together, moving from one venue to another, why are they allowed to be going in cars? What's the purpose of that?
'People need to think a bit.'
Archer was more effective with the ball in the West Indies' second innings at the Ageas Bowl, here celebrating the wicket of Shamarh Brooks
Speaking on Test Match Special, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: 'I don't think he will play next week, there needs to be some kick-back and Jofra can't think he can just walk back into the team. It could be a few Tests.
'I suspect the next journey they made will be by bus. Everything will become more strict, especially when they travel again to the Ageas Bowl I suspect they'll be going by bus.
'But if the tracking device works so well, surely they would have picked it up before last night?'
Vaughan said that England players were informed of the news of Archer's exclusion by team manager Phil Neal via WhatsApp at 7.50am, 10 minutes before the statement was released.
'I think one or two of them didn't see it because they were fast asleep and woke up about 8:30-8:45 and were like 'eh what's going on here?' said Vaughan.
'It's the right call, though.'
That may be so but it is a serious lapse in judgment by Archer after the importance of adhering to the guidelines was repeatedly drummed into the players and everyone involved in a process that will save millions of pounds of broadcasting money for the ECB.
The consequences of anyone bringing the virus into the bubble does not bear thinking about and Archer potentially jeopardised the while series and the immediate financial future of the game.
But it does not appear as though England will fine him or extend his punishment other than missing a crucial Test that England have to win to have any chance of regaining the Wisden Trophy.
Archer arrived late to the England camp at the Ageas Bowl earlier this month after a member of his household felt unwell. Archer's subsequent Covid-19 tests came back negative.
And his actions come after England's captain for the first Test, Ben Stokes, spoke about the attention to detail necessary to ensure the series could go ahead.
Ahead of the first Test, Stokes said: 'I feel as though a lot of respect has been shown from both sides to make sure this works.
'Because if you get one thing wrong, it might blow this whole 'get sport back on to the radar of people' further back.
'So we're grateful we've been given an opportunity to get back onto the field and we'll be doing everything we can to make sure we don't mess it up.'
His absence means that either Sam Curran or newcomer Ollie Robinson will come in as a fourth change to the team who lost the first Test after they were named in a 13-man squad on Wednesday.
Captain Joe Root will return for the dropped Joe Denly while Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes are expected to return for the rested Jimmy Anderson and Mark Wood.
Now England have a huge and totally unexpected extra headache after the inexplicable behaviour of a cricketer who should have the world at his feet.
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons went into self-isolation after leaving his team's bio-secure location in Manchester to attend his father-in-law's funeral prior to the first Test.