Elbow trouble rules Archer out of T20 series
Jofra Archer has been ruled out of next month’s three-match Twenty20 series against South Africa because of soreness to his right elbow.
The troublesome injury meant Archer missed the final three Tests against the Proteas and while he was set to be rested for the upcoming one-day international series between the teams, he was expected to come back for the T20s.
However, his focus is now on getting back to full fitness after returning to the United Kingdom on Tuesday evening, with England announcing his place in the squad has gone to Saqib Mahmood.
The news is a blow for England, who are steadily building towards the T20 World Cup which gets under way in October in Australia, where Archer’s ability to generate extreme pace and bounce would be invaluable assets.
It has been a challenging winter for Archer, who followed up a remarkable summer last year by averaging 47 in his first three overseas Tests – although he did sign off with a five-wicket haul in Centurion before injury struck.
Archer’s absence allowed fellow fast bowler Mark Wood to come to the fore, the Durham man taking career-best match figures of nine for 100 in Johannesburg to seal a 3-1 win, although it is hoped they will be able to play a Test in tandem at some stage, having shone together during England’s World Cup triumph last year.
The nerve-shredding final against New Zealand at Lord’s last July was England’s most recent ODI so their series opener against South Africa at Cape Town next Tuesday will be their first as world champions.
Before then they will play 50-over warm-up matches in Paarl on Friday and Saturday in preparation for the ODI at Newlands.
Archer is not the only high-profile omission from the series, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler rested following their exertions in recent months, which has presented an opportunity to the likes of Mahmood.
The Lancashire seamer had already been drafted into the ODI squad for the first time and Archer’s withdrawal from the T20s gives the 22-year-old a chance to press his claims for a World Cup squad berth.
The news Mahmood would remain with the T20 group came on the same day he was named as one of three beneficiaries of the first England pace bowling development contracts, alongside Somerset’s Craig Overton and Warwickshire’s Olly Stone.
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the introduction of an initiative which will see players continue to be employed by their counties but with the governing body making “a significant contribution” to costs.
Under the terms of the new deals, players will spend more time with personnel from the ECB’s National Performance Centre, who will have a greater say on their workload over the year.
Ashley Giles, director of England men’s cricket, said: “Having a strong supply line of high-quality seam bowlers is an essential ingredient for sustained England team success in both white-ball and red-ball cricket.
“We are very grateful to the first-class counties for agreeing to this, in particular Lancashire, Somerset and Warwickshire.
“We are committed to working very closely with them to best develop players for the long-term benefit of English cricket and to ensure they are at their very best to perform at optimum levels throughout the domestic campaign.”
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