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ECB plan for Jofra Archer to play white-ball cricket only in 2024

Jofra Archer bowling in an England net sessio
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Managing director of England men’s cricket Rob Key has given an update on Jofra Archer’s timeline of return to international cricket, stating that Archer is aiming to play in the upcoming T20 World Cup but will not play Test cricket until next year.

Archer has not played professional cricket since last year’s IPL, which he withdrew from after feeling discomfort in his right elbow, having undergone surgery during the competition. Over the last four years, Archer has played 20 professional matches, last playing for England against Bangladesh in March 2023, due to a series of injuries.

However, Key’s update on Archer was optimistic that he is not far off an England return. “He’s been out on Sussex’s pre-season out in India,” Key told Sky Sports. “He bowled quickly out there and bowled really well. He’s now gone back to the Caribbean where he’s going to play a little bit of club cricket, stuff like that.

“It’s all about getting himself ready for that World T20. He’ll hopefully play in the Pakistan series but it’s always fingers crossed at the moment with Jofra.”

Archer’s first notable problem with his elbow emerged in January 2020, when he was ruled out of three Tests on England’s tour of South Africa, as well as the T20I series that followed. It was diagnosed as a bone stress injury. He was then ruled out of the following tour of Sri Lanka and the 2020 IPL.

In March 2021, Archer missed two Tests in India after an injection to his right elbow, and was subsequently ruled out of the ODI series. He later underwent surgery to remove a piece of glass from a tendon in his right hand following accidentally breaking a fish tank. After being ruled out of the 2021 IPL, Archer returned for Sussex’s second XI, but complained of soreness in his elbow and was ruled out of England’s Test series against New Zealand. He was confirmed to be out of action for the rest of the year in August 2021. In December of 2021, he underwent a second elbow operation.

In May 2022, the ECB revealed Archer had been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back and would not be in action that season. He subsequently missed England’s victorious T20 World Cup campaign in Australia. However, he returned to England colours in January 2023 in an ODI series against South Africa.

Key revealed that the plan was for Archer to only play white ball cricket in 2024, with a possible return to Test action in 2025. “What we’re going to do is take it slower than trying to go too quickly so that we get him back for not just a short period, we get him back for a long period,” said Key. “And the whole plan with Jofra is he’s going to play white ball cricket for this summer, and going into the winter, and then hopefully next summer, when we play India and then on to the Ashes, we get him back for Test cricket. So it’s a slow process just trying to get him back for all forms.”

England will play a four-match T20I series against Pakistan in May as they gear up for their T20 World Cup title defence. The series begins on May 22 before their first T20 World Cup group stage match against Scotland on June 4.

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