Jofra Archer left IPL for elbow surgery in Belgium

Jofra Archer briefly left the Indian Premier League this month to travel to Belgium, where he reportedly went under the knife for a minor procedure on his troublesome right elbow.

The England paceman was conspicuous by his absence for Mumbai Indians, featuring in his side’s season-opener on April 2 but then missing their next four matches before returning to action on Saturday.

Concerns were heightened by the revelation Archer was experiencing discomfort in a joint that required a couple of operations and contributed to him spending much of the last two years on the sidelines.

The PA news agency understands Archer flew to Belgium to see his specialist during a near three-week absence for Mumbai, and according to the Daily Telegraph had minor surgery before going back to India.

Archer coming back into the fray at the weekend and bowling his full four-over allocation, reaching speeds of 90mph against Punjab Kings, suggests the issue is not another dramatic step back for him.

He was rested for Tuesday’s fixture against Gujarat Titans but could come back into the reckoning when Mumbai take on Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

England’s medical team have been working closely with their counterparts at the franchise, with Archer still only a few months into his comeback following stress fractures to his elbow and then his back.

He put in some encouraging performances on his England return in the white-ball tours of South Africa and Bangladesh, leading to suggestions he could have a starring role in this summer’s Ashes series.

Sussex indicated ahead of the county season that Archer may not play any first-class cricket for them before the Ashes, and the difference in workload between T20 and Test cricket is stark.

Archer, who has not played a first-class match since May 2021, has been keen to play down expectations and said when he was out in Bangladesh: “If I can play one (Ashes) game this summer, I’ll be happy.

“If I play more than one, that’s just a bonus.”