Jofra Archer’s hopes of featuring in this year’s Indian Premier League appear to be over after the England and Wales Cricket Board issued an update on the paceman’s recovery from an elbow injury.
Archer sustained a stress fracture in his right elbow during the recent Test tour of South Africa and was expected to be out for around three months, seemingly scotching hopes of fulfilling his £800,000 deal with Rajasthan Royals.
The 24-year-old offered a different take on Thursday when he gave a positive outlook on his rehabilitation and said he had “fingers crossed” that he would be able to play some part in the IPL.
But his latest MRI scan matches the ECB’s original assessment and the governing body, which is the primary employer of centrally-contracted players like Archer, wants him to build back to peak condition with his county Sussex and prove his fitness for the Test summer.
Archer made his name on the global T20 circuit, particularly in the IPL and Big Bash League, but is now a key part of England’s plans across all three formats and they are eager to make the right decisions over his fitness following his recent setback.
Head coach Chris Silverwood, speaking after day one of England’s tour match in Sri Lanka, said: “My priority is getting him right for England and our international summer. Sussex will play a big part in that and we will work very closely with them to make sure he gets the best preparation possible before the international season.
“The only things we have been talking about are what’s best for England and what’s best to get him right for that. We want him to be 100 per cent ready, 100 per cent fresh and 100 per cent fit for the international season.”
An ECB statement underlined the current plan for his comeback.
“Following a repeat MRI scan undertaken this week in London, Jofra Archer has been reviewed by the ECB medical team and is progressing as expected,” it read.
“He will have a further scan in mid-April before a return to competitive cricket. He will play County Championship cricket in May for Sussex to ensure his preparation is optimal for Test cricket. His current rehabilitation will progress to a full gym programme and continued running work over the next two weeks.”
Archer was due to join England team-mates Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Tom Curran at Rajasthan Royals, but they now face the prospect of seeking a replacement overseas bowler.
Delhi Capitals are in the same boat after Chris Woakes made the decision to withdraw from the tournament to keep himself fresh for international duty.
That leaves 11 English players currently signed up for the the longest IPL to date, which is due to start on March 29 and conclude on May 24. Anyone required for the first West Indies Test is required to be back in the country by May 26.