Jofra Archer has withdrawn from IPL 2023 mid-way through the season following discomfort in his troublesome elbow, further extending the long list of top-level matches he has missed in the last three years.
This withdrawal is another setback in a long saga of fitness troubles for the 28-year-old quick, who had recently made a comeback to international cricket and the IPL after a long lay-off.
Here’s a timeline of Archer’s injury woes:
January 2020: Archer is ruled out of three out of four Tests during England’s tour of South Africa, and the T20I series that followed, after soreness in his right elbow which was diagnosed as a bone stress injury.
February 2020: Archer is ruled out of the Sri Lanka tour and the 2020 Indian Premier League, with scans revealing a low-grade stress fracture requiring rehabilitation that would rule him out of action for three months.
June 2020: Ahead of England’s home Test series against West Indies, Archer joins the squad after a delay, following a second Covid-19 negative test. He plays two out of the three Tests, missing the Old Trafford game due to a bio-bubble breach. He also plays two Tests against Pakistan, his most recent red-ball series at home.
March 2021: Archer misses two Tests in India after an injection to his right elbow. Subsequently, he is ruled out of the ODI series in India, with the ECB saying an existing elbow injury deteriorated during the T20I leg of England’s India tour.
Later that month, ECB reveal that Archer will undergo a procedure on his right hand following a scan upon his return to the UK, with the recovery clubbed with his elbow rehabilitation following an injection. Surgery is done to remove a piece of glass from a tendon in his right hand, following an accidental breaking of a fish tank while cleaning. He is advised to begin rehabilitation in two weeks.
April 2021: The following month, Archer is given the green signal by ECB to resume light training, although there’s no clear timeline provided for his return. He is subsequently ruled out of the 2021 IPL as well, before the tournament is rescheduled midway through the season.
May 2021: Archer tests his elbow in a quiet return through Sussex’s second XI against Surrey. Later that month, he is named in the main Sussex squad to face Kent. However, he complains of pain and soreness in his elbow, and upon consultation with the medical team, is ruled out of the upcoming Test series against New Zealand.
August 2021: It is confirmed that Archer is out for the rest of the year, after scans reveal another stress fracture in his right elbow. It rules him out of the Test series against India, the T20 World Cup in the UAE, and the Ashes
Later that month, Archer, eyeing a comeback through England’s tour of the Caribbean in 2022, declares that his best years of ahead of him as a Test cricketer.
December 2021: Archer undergoes a second elbow operation in London, which rules him out of England’s tours to the Caribbean in January and March. IPL team Rajasthan Royals don’t retain him ahead of the IPL auction, and it remains unclear if he’d participate in IPL 2022.
January 2022: Archer links up with the England T20I squad in Barbados ahead of the series against West Indies, but remains restricted to light training, and far from a return to competitive cricket.
February 2022: It emerges that Archer will not compete in IPL 2022 as he continues his rehabilitation. However, he is bought by Mumbai Indians in the auction, with the intention of participating from the 2023 edition onwards.
May 2022: Archer reveals that he went into a “dark place” last summer following a lengthy lay-off, but vows to return to all three formats, eyeing a comeback through the T20 Blast at the end of May.
On May 19, ECB reveal that Archer is diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back, and is ruled out of action for the rest of the season.
October-November 2022: Archer misses out on England’s T20 World Cup winning campaign as he is yet to recover fully from the stress fracture.
January 2023: Archer finally returns to international cricket, playing two ODIs against South Africa. Before the start of the series, he claims he is “80% fit with some fine-tuning left.”
March 2023: Archer continues his return to top-level cricket with three T20Is and two ODIs against Bangladesh, says “he has already surpassed his ambitions in battling back from injury.”
April 2023: Archer makes his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians after missing out on IPL 2022. Plays the first match and is rested from the second game onwards after complaining of discomfort in his right elbow. Misses the next four games.
Reports emerge that he had gone to Belgium to get a minor elbow surgery done. He is unhappy about the reports and expresses his displeasure on social media. Returns to play the next few games for Mumbai.
May 2023: ECB put out a statement announcing that Archer has withdrawn from IPL 2023 with immediate effect. They say that he was pushing through discomfort in his elbow, “hoping it would settle, but it has proven challenging.” He will return to England and work on his rehab and recovery with the ECB medical department and his county team Sussex.
Archer’s last international games:
Test: v India, February 2021
ODI: v Bangladesh, March 2023
T20I: v Bangladesh, March 2023
The 2019 World Cup hero has played just 27 international games for England across formats since the start of 2020.