Archer ruled out for summer with recurrence of elbow injury
Concerns about Archer’s fitness were raised earlier this month when he flew home early from his IPL stint with Mumbai Indians, having already taken time out of the tournament to visit a specialist in Belgium. Prior to his comeback for England in South Africa earlier this year, he had not played for the country in almost two years, following a succession of elbow and back problems.
And now, it has been confirmed that he will miss out on the entirety of this summer’s Ashes campaign, which begins at Edgbaston on June 16, and concludes six weeks later at the Kia Oval. England still harbour hopes, however, that he could yet be fit to help defend their 50-over World Cup title, when the tournament begins in India in October.
“It has been a frustrating and upsetting period for Jofra Archer,” Rob Key, England’s managing director of men’s cricket said. “He was making good progress until a recurrence of the elbow injury, which kept him out for an extended period previously. We wish him the best of luck with his recovery. I’m sure we will see Jofra back to his best and winning games for England, whatever the format. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
“At the moment, all cricket’s been too much for his body to cope with and we need to get past that,” Key added. “I do think you see these times when someone like Jofra, he’s like a Formula One car almost, and he goes through the period he’s been through which has been really tough and then you think you’re getting to the point where he can come back and be able to play, and there’s another setback.
“But you just hope that down the line he will overcome this, that body will get robust enough to be able to deal with the rigours of everything. And I wouldn’t sit here now and rule anything out. And as you then get through and start solving this problem for Jofra, then you can start making those decisions. But I don’t see the point in doing that at the moment.”
Archer played five games for Mumbai this season, bowling his full quota in each game, picking up a couple of wickets and conceding 9.5 runs per over. Key defended the decision to let him play in the IPL, saying he wouldn’t have changed anything in the way Archer’s return has been managed.
“When something like this happens, you look at every single thing,” Key said. “You look at the whole thing we had in place right before Christmas, when we had everything mapped out for how we wanted him back to get ready to play in the Ashes and the World Cup. When you get to this point and he can’t do it, you start to look at that.
“But the fact is, he’s not been able to bowl more than four overs without feeling any sort of pain. Regardless of the way that we’ve gone, whether it has been right or wrong, I don’t think I’d change anything because you’re getting to the point where he’s actually had an issue that we need to just solve now.
“We’re going to look at every single thing we’ve done. Everything we’ve done has been what we thought was the right thing for the player first, not actually for anyone else. Just what was the best way for him to have the best career he could possibly have. And that’s not worked out.”
Key remains confident that Archer will return to England colours, despite this latest setback now meaning that he will have missed the last three English summers. He’s played four ODIs and three T20Is in 2023 and though he played his last Test for England in February 2021 Key hasn’t ruled Test cricket in the future.
“People like Pat Cummins missed a lot of cricket at the early stage of his career. Now Australia have seen the benefit – he’s been able to put season after season together. I’m hoping at some point Jofra, who deserves a bit of luck to be honest, because the poor lad, who is pretty distraught with what’s happened, you just hope that luck turns for him at some point.
“The one thing I’ll say about Jofra. You sometimes read and you sometimes get the feeling that people think he’s going to go down a white-ball road, that he’s not interested in Test cricket, that there are other things on his mind that come first. That’s absolutely not the case. He is desperate to play all forms of cricket. He’s desperate to play Test cricket as well. And I hope that he gets the chance to do that.
“It’s going to be a fairly taxing road to go down to get this fixed and get this sorted, but I’m sure we’ll see him back at some point.”
“There was a period when Jofra was overbowled. I sat there watching it, and I’m thinking: what madness is this, that you are going to give this guy over after over,” Bishop said. “You almost – I’m sorry to use this statement, I don’t know how else to say it – you are killing the goose that lays the golden egg for you.
“It [Jofra’s] is a good action. I wake up in the morning – and I’ve said this to ESPNcricinfo before – if I hear Jofra Archer’s bowling, I snap out of my sleep, because I love the athleticism of the run-up, the high action, it’s poetry in motion. But once he got overbowled and sustained from stress workload, those little injuries, it’s always going to be hard no matter how good the action is.
“Any fast bowler is, with all these formats that we have now, going to pick it [injuries] up somewhere along the line. So workload management – as much as we hate it – and strengthening the core strength in the body is going to be the key. But do not overbowl them”
“Any fast bowler is, with all these formats that we have now, going to pick it [injuries] up somewhere along the line,” Bishop said. “So workload management – as much as we hate it – and strengthening the core strength in the body is going to be the key. But do not overbowl them.
“I personally feel that I would not allow Jofra to think about red-ball cricket, at least for a while in the next couple of seasons. It’s too much.”