Jofra Archer has been ruled out of England’s two-match Test series against New Zealand next month and is waiting to discover whether his persistent elbow problem requires an operation.
The fast bowler had made his first appearance of the season for Sussex in the latest round of County Championship fixtures but, having sent down 18 overs and claimed three wickets, did not bowl on the final two days of his side’s rain-affected draw at home to Kent following soreness in his right elbow.
An England spokesperson said: “Archer will see a medical consultant later this week to determine the next course of action on the management of his elbow.”
It is the latest setback for the 26-year-old who missed the back end of the South Africa tour in early 2020 when a stress fracture was detected in the same joint and though he returned last summer, a cortisone injection was administered when pain resurfaced during the recent tour of India. England’s medical team hoped rest and a follow-up jab last month might allow the issue to settle but the latest flare-up means they are back to the drawing board. Archer’s centrality to plans for the T20 World Cup in October and the Ashes tour that follows will be factored into any decision over possible surgery.
Sussex captain Ben Brown said: “I really feel for him. He’s in a difficult situation, with that skill of bowling really fast being taken away from him, if you like. This week has been very challenging. He was hopeful but he’s felt pretty sore in this game.”Chris Silverwood, the England head coach and now sole selector, is due to name his squad for the New Zealand series in the next 48 hours, with players coming together in London on May 28th before the first Test at Lord’s starts on June 2nd.
Archer’s Sussex teammate Ollie Robinson is expected to feature after claiming 29 wickets at 14 apiece in five matches this season, with Mark Wood and Olly Stone likely to provide two outright pace options for captain Joe Root.
Ben Stokes is ruled out with a broken finger, while Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran and Moeen Ali are set to be spared an immediate return to a biosecure bubble; they only emerged from a 10-day hotel quarantine at midnight on Saturday after recently returning from the Indian Premier League.
This opens up a chance for Somerset’s Craig Overton, and Surrey’s Ben Foakes should continue behind the stumps. James Bracey, the uncapped Gloucestershire wicketkeeper who also bats in the top order, is another in the frame, with opener Dom Sibley touch and go after a broken finger.
England (possible): Dom Sibley, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Ollie Pope, Dan Lawrence, Ben Foakes (wk), James Bracey (wk), Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton, Jack Leach, Mark Wood, Olly Stone, Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Matt Parkinson