Jofra Archer OUT of England’s Test series against New Zealand and faces surgery after his long-standing elbow injury flares up after playing for Sussex against Kent
- An operation could see England’s Jofra Archer ruled out for up to 10 weeks
- An absence that long would see him in a race to be fit for the India series
- The latest incident occurred in a county championship match for his Sussex side
Jofra Archer is facing surgery on the chronic elbow injury that is casting a cloud over his long-term Test future and could miss the whole of England’s international summer.
The bitter blow emerged on Sunday night when Archer was officially ruled out of at least the two-Test series against New Zealand next month after suffering more pain in the long-standing issue during his comeback for Sussex against Kent.
England’s premier fast bowler will see a medical consultant later this week but management fear surgery is inevitable on what is said to be a different problem with his right elbow than the one that forced him out of the Test series in South Africa last year.
Jofra Archer has been ruled out England’s Tests against New Zealand due to an elbow injury
An operation would mean an absence of around eight to 10 weeks which would also rule Archer out of this summer’s white-ball cricket against Sri Lanka and Pakistan and take him to the brink of the stellar Test series against India in August and September.
He would need to prove his fitness for Sussex before he could be considered for Test cricket again, which means the most optimistic forecast is that Archer’s return will come towards the end of the five-Test Indian series.
The bottom line is that an operation is an unavoidable last resort if England are to have Archer fit and firing for the two biggest assignments of a packed year, the Twenty20 World Cup due to be held in India in October and November and then the Ashes.
And England privately have concerns over the long-term red-ball future of their prime fast bowling asset, with insiders concerned his elbow simply cannot withstand the demands and rigours of regular Test cricket.
England coach Chris Silverwood has said he will do everything possible to ensure Archer has the best and longest international career possible and is prepared to nurse him through to the Ashes. Then a decision may well have to be made over how much Test cricket Archer, even at just 26, can actually play.
The latest setback came on Saturday afternoon when Archer was unable to bowl on the resumption of Sussex’s match at Hove and was seen to have an animated conversation on the outfield with his captain Ben Brown.
‘The issue is a sad one for Jofra,’ said Brown on Sunday night. ‘He’s a champion cricketer, so talented and so gifted, but at the moment he cannot do what he wants to do. He cannot do his skill. This week has been very challenging and I really feel for him.’
Archer, in action earlier this week, made a return to the Sussex line up to play against Kent
Any operation would be Archer’s second in quick succession after he had surgery to remove fragments of glass from his hand that had become embedded when he dropped a fish tank at home in Hove while trying to clean it.
That freak setback, along with the more serious elbow issue, ruled Archer out of part of England’s tour of India and the shortened Indian Premier League but his successful return for Sussex seconds ahead of his first team comeback raised hopes he would be fit to face the Kiwis and beyond.
Those hopes were cruelly dashed last night and it seems inevitable Archer faces an operation that could be pivotal to his first-class future. And it means Silverwood must plan without two of his most important cricketers in Archer and the injured Ben Stokes when he picks his first squad as selection supremo at Loughborough on Monday.
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