Jofra Archer last featured for England in March 2021, playing in the T20 series in India; he required two surgeries on troublesome right elbow last year; “I’ve not had any prompts from anyone, telling me I’m a one-format player as yet. I still want to play everything”
Last Updated: 05/05/22 12:10pm
Jofra Archer has admitted his longstanding elbow injury left him in a “dark place” last summer as the England fast bowler looks to make his return to action with county Sussex in the Vitality Blast later this month.
Archer last featured for England in March 2021, playing in the T20 series in India, while his last competitive cricket action came for Sussex in July of last year. His problematic right elbow injury, which has troubled him for more than two years, kept him out of the T20 World Cup and the Ashes series over the winter.
The 27-year-old insists he has given no thought to his international prospects this summer, merely relieved he can soon look forward to a return to action, though he did still stress his commitment to representing England in all three formats despite his injury troubles casting doubt over his Test future.
In his column in the Daily Mail, Archer said: “I find myself in an unfamiliar place as I build towards the start of the Vitality Blast this month – from a fitness perspective.
“Am I confident things are where I would like them to be ahead of Sussex’s opening Twenty20 fixture against Glamorgan on May 26? Absolutely.
“As for Test cricket this summer, I simply haven’t thought that far ahead.
“I’ve not had any prompts from anyone, telling me I’m a one-format player as yet. I still want to play everything.
“But my first task is the Blast and if I don’t play that properly, then I won’t be able to play Test cricket. So the focus needs to be on the cricket I’ve got lined up and we will see from there.”
Archer, who has featured in 13 Tests, 17 one-day internationals and 12 T20s for England, first suffered a stress reaction in his elbow on the 2019-20 tour to South Africa, seeing him sit out the last three Tests.
He returned to the fray in the 2020 summer but the issue reared its head again during last year’s tour of India. He first had surgery last May to attempt to correct the issue, but a setback meant he again went under the knife in December to address a stress fracture.
Archer, who has retained his full ECB central contract, said: “Having gone into a dark place last summer after the first op, I can see why when people are not on the good side of situations like this, they sometimes have a downward spiral in terms of mental health.
“It’s natural for anyone to worry about the future in that kind of situation, but not having to chase a contract gave me the time to rest properly.
“Yes, there have been two surgeries, but honestly, I couldn’t have written my rehab comeback any better.
“Now, I just need some game time to be able to put my trust in the elbow. I’ve not trusted it supporting me for a long period, so it’s going to take a little bit of work to do so and bowl at full tilt.”
‘Stokes the best role model in English cricket’
Despite his red-ball ambitions remaining steadfast, Archer’s return to competitive action is likely to come a little too late for him to be able to force his way into the England Test team for their three-Test series against New Zealand in June under new captain Ben Stokes.
Archer, like many others, believes Stokes was the obvious choice to replace Joe Root in the role, saying: “He is the best role model we have in English cricket because he always gives his best for the team and it encourages others to try to do that too.
“Everyone tries to copy him and raise their standards.”
He added: “Him and Joe Root have been so tight working together that we might not notice the transition.
“That was certainly the case on the one occasion I played under Stokes’ captaincy against West Indies in Southampton two years ago.”