England paceman Jofra Archer has been ruled out of next month’s two-Test series in Sri Lanka as well as the Indian Premier League because of the right elbow injury that blighted his tour of South Africa.
Archer was sidelined for the final three Tests against the Proteas and after it was revealed he would also the Twenty20 series he returned to the United Kingdom, where a scan has confirmed a low grade stress fracture.
Likely to be out of action for around three months, Archer will undergo another scan in four weeks and could commence a back to bowling programme soon afterwards, with a view to returning for the start of the English summer.
Get well soon, @JofraArcher 💪Wishing you a speedy recovery! 👍
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 6, 2020
He will not go to the IPL, despite retweeting a message from the Rajasthan Royals, saying: “We’re working with the ECB to help @JofraArcher secure a speedy recovery, and still hope to see him in a Royals jersey this season.”
The move may have been a marketing ploy by the Royals but, as Archer is a centrally-contracted player, England are in charge of his rehabilitation and they will determine when and where he makes his comeback.
Archer tweeted “Be back soon” after an England and Wales Cricket Board statement said: “England fast bowler Jofra Archer underwent further scans on his injured right elbow yesterday in the UK.
“The scans confirmed that Archer has suffered a low grade stress fracture of the right elbow. As a result of the injury, he has been ruled out of England’s Test tour of Sri Lanka and the Indian Premier League 2020 season.
“He will now commence an injury rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to be ready for the international summer campaign starting in June against West Indies in a three-match Test series.”
Archer first experienced pain in his right elbow during last year’s triumphant World Cup campaign but England had been able to manage the problem, which became more of an issue last month.
An initial scan after being ruled out of the second Test at Cape Town last month showed no major damage. It was thought he would be available for the final Test at Johannesburg but he was a late withdrawal.
However, the nature of the injury often means the first scan shows nothing significant. Only when the swelling had reduced did Archer undergo a more sophisticated scan, which involved injecting dye into the joint to show inflammation.
The results, which rules Archer out of the series in Sri Lanka, where a whopping 60 World Test Championship points are available per match, completes a difficult first winter on England duty for the 24-year-old.
Archer was England’s leading wicket-taker at the World Cup and then took 22 scalps at an average of 20.27 in the Ashes in a breakthrough international summer. However, he underwhelmed on the tour to New Zealand.
He missed the T20 series between the teams but took only two wickets in the two-Test series, where he struggled to get to grips with the Kookaburra ball and flat pitches, while he was racially abused in the opener at Mount Maunganui.
He took five for 102 in his last bowling innings as England lost heavily in Centurion at the beginning of their tour of South Africa, after which injury struck.
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) February 6, 2020
Archer was one of a number of England’s World Cup winners rested from the ongoing one-day international series but he was expected to return, alongside Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Mark Wood, for the three T20s.
However, he will now turn his attention towards getting fit for England’s first assignment of the summer: the first of three Tests against the West Indies, starting on June 4 at The Oval.
Tom Curran wished his England and Rajasthan team-mate well in his recovery but admitted the sizeable gap left by Archer could present a chance for him to make his mark.
On the eve of the second ODI against South Africa at Durban, Curran said: “It’s disappointing not to have him there but at then same time it will open up opportunities. If I’m given those chances I’ll be looking to take them.”