Jofra Archer: England bowler to miss Ashes series after latest cruel injury setback

Cruel setback: Jofra Archer has not made a Test appearance for England since February 2021 (Getty Images)
Cruel setback: Jofra Archer has not made a Test appearance for England since February 2021 (Getty Images)

Jofra Archer has been ruled out of this summer’s Ashes series after suffering another stress fracture of his elbow in the latest bitter blow to one of England’s most talented cricketers.

Archer flew back early from the Indian Premier League (IPL) last week having been troubled by a nagging elbow issue throughout the tournament and further scans have revealed a recurrence of the injury which ruled the bowler out of the 2021 T20 World Cup and the last Ashes series in Australia.

The 28-year-old, who only returned from a 17-month injury lay-off at the start of this year, is set to miss the entire international summer and must now be a major doubt for England’s 50-over World Cup defence in India in the autumn, though it is too soon for any firm verdict on that front.

There will also now be significant questions over whether Archer will ever be able to shake his injury troubles to recapture the form that made him an instant international star in the summer of 2019, when, within months of his England debut, he won the World Cup on home soil and excelled in a 2-2 Ashes draw.

Only weeks ago, in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Archer insisted he has never given any thought to retiring from red-ball cricket and confirmed he was still targeting at least one Ashes outing this summer, but his wait for a first Test appearance since February 2021 will now stretch on.

“It has been a frustrating and upsetting period for Jofra Archer,” said Rob Key, England’s managing director of men’s cricket. “He was making good progress until a recurrence of the elbow injury, which kept him out for an extended period previously.

“We wish him the best of luck with his recovery. I’m sure we will see Jofra back to his best and winning games for England, whatever the format. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.”

Archer has been plagued by elbow problems, including two previous stress fractures, since the issue initially flared up on the Test tour of South Africa in early 2020. Almost a year ago exactly, when nearing a comeback from the second of those, the ECB announced he had been ruled out of the home summer because of a stress fracture of the lower back.

Archer returned to action in the SA20 franchise tournament earlier this year and then made successful England comebacks on white-ball tours to South Africa and Bangladesh before joining up with Mumbai Indians at the IPL.

There he played only five times, however, first flying to Belgium for a minor procedure and then heading home from the tournament early last week, having bowled through the pain after returning to India.