Kevin Pietersen has said that it is “difficult to imagine” Jofra Archer being able to return to playing Test cricket following his latest injury setback.
It was announced earlier this week that Archer, 27, had suffered a stress fracture of the lower back just weeks before his intended return date from a separate elbow issue.
Archer has been out of international action for close to 15 months, with a number of injuries having restricted him to just 20 matches in almost three years.
The fast bowler has undergone two operations on his elbow, the last being in December 2021, and was targeting the T20 Blast, which starts on Wednesday, May 25, for a potential comeback.
However, it was revealed last week that he had suffered a stress fracture in his lower back, a blow which has ruled him out for the entire 2022 season.
“It’s terrible news for poor Jofra Archer that he’ll miss the whole summer,” Pietersen said, writing for Betway. “He’s shown moments of brilliance for England and other teams and it’s just a horrible blow for him. It’s difficult to imagine him recovering from this to play long-form cricket again, that’s the horrible reality. Hopefully he can still carve out a top-level white-ball career.
“His stress fracture to the back follows a pattern of these injuries being sustained by England bowlers.”
Archer was the third England quick to be diagnosed with a stress fracture in the last week, after news broke that both Saqib Mahmood and Matt Fisher had suffered a similar injury.
“I do think that the number of sports scientists can complicate things far too much,” Pietersen said. “When I was playing, fast bowlers used to bowl a lot of overs in the nets and got bowling fit.
“They went through the hard yards in their preparation and weren’t molly-coddled in between games. Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and all the other greats weren’t told how many balls they could bowl by a sports scientist every day. They knew their bodies and got properly fit.
“It feels now like England’s fast bowlers can’t cope with tough, long days with the ball because they’re not used to it.”
Pietersen also argued that new Test head coach Brendon McCullum was a positive selection for England and that the side will “now have lots of discipline, but also be encouraged to play naturally”.
“Don’t be scared, don’t be timid, go out and do your thing… I think his brand of cricket is one that will be along the same lines as what Rob Key and Ben Stokes want,” Pietersen said. “It’s also what the paying public want to watch.”