Jofra Archer's chances of featuring in this year's Indian Premier League could be settled next week, with Rajasthan Royals reassuring England they will not take any risks with the paceman's fitness.
Archer, who has an £800,000 contract with the franchise, has already been ruled out of the initial stages of the tournament after undergoing surgery to remove glass from his finger last month.
That freak injury – sustained when dropping a fish tank in the bath – came alongside a longer-standing elbow complaint and the combination of both saw him pulled out of the firing line with an eye on a packed international schedule. But as the IPL's reigning MVP, Archer is crucial to the Royals' plans and they are keen to get him back.
Director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara revealed that an update was expected within days but insisted the player's well-being and England commitments remained paramount.
"We certainly hope he will be available for some part of the IPL. It is pretty obvious not having him at the start is a big blow to us," he said.
"We're all waiting to see how the next assessment goes and once that is done we will know more. We don't have an exact timeline on it but we will know more next week.
"His value to world cricket and to England cricket is always part of our decision-making process and we are always guided by the experts in English cricket who look after Jofra to guide us on how we could support that journey.
"It's not something we look at selfishly in terms of playing in the IPL. We understand the value of Jofra and we take a holistic view of how important Jofra is not just to our cause but to England cricket and world cricket as well.
"It's very important Jofra gets fit, not just for IPL but for his international career, and that he is in a very good space with his body and mentally when he does come here."
Archer would need to observe a mandatory eight-day quarantine on arrival in India, one of the measures in place to help ensure the tournament can take place safely despite the sharp rise in India's Covid-19 cases.
"The risk is always there, but quarantine procedures are very stringent and we are testing every other day throughout the tournament," noted Sangakkara.
"It is the responsibility of everybody, including the players, that we adhere to these strict guidelines because the consequence of any infection can be dramatic.
"Having experienced what they have in place I am very confident that this tournament will be played to its conclusion, they are going a very efficient and professional job to ensure the tournament bubble is kept safe."
The Royals, who have Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Liam Livingstone on their books, start their campaign against Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan's Punjab Kings on Monday.
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