Rehabilitation setback rules Jofra Archer out of West Indies tour

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England’s pace spearhead, Jofra Archer, has encountered a setback in his return to competitive cricket. During a training session with the national team in the ongoing ODI World Cup, Archer experienced elbow pain, hindering his rehabilitation from a stress fracture that had previously kept him out of cricket.

Archer’s troubles began during the IPL when he suffered a recurrence of an elbow stress fracture while playing for Mumbai Indians. Despite a determined comeback in January, featuring in ODIs and T20Is against South Africa and Bangladesh, he has been unable to recover from the injury fully.

Initially, England had hoped to include Archer in their World Cup squad, expecting him to regain fitness during the latter half of the group stage. However, medical reports from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) advised a more cautious approach, designating him as a reserve.

“He’s coming in as a reserve… he’s continuing to build up and rehab,” Jos Buttler was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo when Archer joined the World Cup squad in Mumbai. However, after a few light training sessions, Archer returned home, dealing a blow to England’s pace resources.

England’s managing director, Rob Key, expressed the team’s desire to have Archer back but stressed the need for caution. “Originally, the thought was that he was going to be alright for the back end of the competition, It was a risk worth taking. He had his scans, and they all came up clear.

“We’re desperate for Jofra. We take that bet with him that we want him back fit and able to play for England, because of the upside. He flies over here, comes out to Mumbai, bowls, and actually then he felt pain in his elbow. So then, the view was, ‘right, this is going to be a risk too far’. Because of the upside, that’s what lures you in. You start looking at things like the Ashes in two years, the T20 World Cup… Jofra adds so much to that,” Key said.

With Archer’s absence from the upcoming series against West Indies in December, England have opted for a patient approach. “Rather than pick him in the squads, we’re just going to play it by ear and when he’s fit and ready to come back in, he’ll come back in,” Key added.

Despite Archer’s recent central contract signing, his fitness remains a priority over immediate returns to the playing XI. “Until he’s ready and fit, he won’t be in the squad – and even then, he’s going to take a period of building up. It’s not going to be straightforward, and we’ve got to be so careful,” cautioned Key.

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