The ECB has opted to send Jofra Archer back home from India to treat an elbow injury that held him out of the second and fourth Tests against India. He is expected to miss at least the first half of IPL 2021 for the Rajasthan Royals.
Archer, according to ESPNcricinfo, will return to England after the T20I series and will not appear in the three-match ODI series against India scheduled for March 23-29. The IPL is set to begin on April 9th.
Archer, who has an ECB central contract to play in all three formats, is expected to receive one more injection in his right elbow upon his return home, before being tested by the ECB medical personnel around mid-April, following which a decision will be made about whether or not he will return to India for the IPL.
The Royals have not released an official comment, although it is believed that they have been informed of Archer’s availability, or lack thereof.
Archer was acquired by the Royals for INR 7.2 crore (approximately US$ 986,000) in the 2018 auction, and the fast bowler has justified the high price by bowling some of the best spells of fast bowling in the competition, earning MVP in 2020. While the Royals have not ruled out the possibility of Archer returning for the second half of the game, it is known that the team is considering backup plans, including seeking a replacement, but is awaiting official word from the ECB.
Ben Stokes, Mustafizur Rahman, Andrew Tye, and Chris Morris are among the Royals’ overseas fast bowlers. Morris was acquired by the Royals for INR 16.25 crore (approximately US$ 2.226 million) in the IPL’s 2021 auction, making him the most valuable player in the league’s history.
After skipping the second Test in Chennai due to an elbow injury, Archer sat out the final Test in Ahmedabad, posing concerns about his availability for the five-match T20I series, which ends on Saturday.
After England’s loss in the Test series, head coach Chris Silverwood acknowledged that Archer’s elbow injury was a problem. Silverwood had said that the ECB medical staff are “lying about how we cope with this [issue] in the long-term” after ruling out surgery.
After the first Test of the India series, Archer got a painkilling injection in his right elbow. The ECB claimed in a press release that the injury was unrelated to the stress fracture he sustained during the South Africa tour in January 2020, which had forced him to withdraw from the Sri Lanka tour and the IPL 2020, all of which were postponed. With the T20 World Cup and the Ashes later this year, all of which are long-term targets for England, they are especially keen to treat Archer carefully.
“I’m trying to do everything in my power to make sure that I’m going to the World Cup and the Ashes,” Archer said after the first T20I. “Managing yourself is going to become more critical than ever to make sure that you’re either fit or completely fit when the time comes,” he said in an in-house interview on Friday.
England is yet to announce their squad for the ODI series, which begins in Pune on Tuesday, March 23, but have not flown any players out to India since the T20Is started. As a result, the ODI squad will be made up of the same 18 players who are currently in India: the 16-man T20I squad plus two substitutes in Jake Ball and Matt Parkinson.