Injuries far from Jofra Archer’s mind with fast bowler set to return for England
Jofra Archer is relieved to be back playing rather than worrying about his body breaking down again as the fast bowler prepares for his first England appearance in nearly two years.
Archer’s most recent international outing was in March 2021, with last year’s comeback shelved due to a stress fracture in the lower back, having overcome elbow trouble that necessitated two operations.
While estimating he is at “about 80 per cent” in his recovery, Archer returned to competitive action this month and now seems set to feature for England, who play three ODIs against South Africa in the next week.
He will do so still riding high from playing cricket in South Africa’s newly-created T20 league, having made five appearances for MI Cape Town with thoughts of injuries far from his mind.
“It’s just been good to play cricket and actually not have to worry about if my body’s going to give way,” Archer said.
“I think that was the most important tick for me so far. Playing cricket again for the first time a few weeks ago, I’m still riding off that wave of emotions right now.
“I’m still a bit stiff and trying to take some of the rust away. I’d probably say I’m about 80 per cent. Just some fine-tuning now. Just more discipline than actual cricket stuff.
“I know whenever I’m fully fit, I don’t think there’s much that can stop me, it’s just a matter of when that was going to be.”
Archer, so instrumental in England’s 2019 World Cup triumph and in the drawn Ashes series that followed later that summer, insisted he remained upbeat despite long spells of rehabilitation.
He has spent large spells on the mend in Barbados, where he was born, and has had plenty of company with his six dogs – Sheba, a French Mastiff, plus American Bullies Ace, Onyx, Ghost, Nova and Luna.
“I went a bit crazy probably a month after I got back to Barbados,” he said. “I got about five dogs in the space of four weeks. The routine kept me going – shovelling lots of poo and feeding lots of dogs!
“There’s no reason to look back. I’ve done my time and I’m here now. That’s the most important thing.
“To be honest, I had the best time being injured, I had stuff to keep me going – my friends, my family, the gym. I’m not upset at all, I don’t think I wasted any days as well when I was injured. I’m happy.”
Archer is unlikely to play in all three matches against South Africa in a series that starts in Bloemfontein on Friday, with England set to rotate their options in a bid to avoid piling on players’ workloads.
In an Ashes and 50-over World Cup year, keeping Archer fit will be imperative for England.
Asked what excites him more out of England’s twin challenges in 2023, Archer replied: “Hopefully it can be a repeat of 2019. We’ve got again a 50-over World Cup and an Ashes in the same year so more of the same, please.”
Olly Stone hopes to play a role in an England pace trio during this year’s Ashes
Stone hopes to play a role this summer along with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
Olly Stone ready for whatever role is required to make England World Cup squad
‘Any way in the England team, I’ll snap someone’s hand off,’ said Stone.
Dane van Niekerk ‘absolutely broken’ to miss World Cup over fitness standards
The South Africa captain was unable to complete a two-kilometre run in the minimum required time.
Run of defeats has not damaged England’s confidence, insists Moeen Ali
The all-rounder is confident England will be in good shape for the defence of their World Cup crown.
Lancashire sign New Zealand pair Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme
The all-rounders will be available to play in the LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality T20 Blast throughout the season.
Jos Buttler admits he needs to find his rhythm as England lose to South Africa
The hosts won the second ODI by five wickets to clinch the series in Bloemfontein.
Temba Bavuma hits hundred as South Africa secure ODI series win over England
The Proteas chased down 343 at Bloemfontein to go 2-0 up in the three-match series.
Jos Buttler and Harry Brook give England hope of levelling ODI series
England reached 342 for seven against South Africa, with Buttler making 94 and Brook 80.
Jason Roy was never ready to ‘roll over’ despite year of setbacks and low points
Roy has for so long been England’s pacesetter at the top of the order but lost his place in the side.
England batter Jason Roy emotional after return to form in South Africa defeat
Roy’s slump with the bat led to him being dropped ahead of England’s T20 World Cup-winning campaign last year.