England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the two-Test series against New Zealand in June due to a flare-up of his right elbow injury.
Archer played his first first-team game since March 20 as Sussex took on Kent at Hove in the LV= Insurance County Championship this week but was only able to bowl five overs in the visitors’ second innings and did not bowl at all on the final two days of the match.
The England and Wales Cricket Board says the 26-year-old – who took two wickets from 13 overs in Kent’s first innings on day one – was suffering from pain in his right elbow and will now “see a medical consultant later this week to determine the next course of action”.
Archer will now sit out the two Tests against New Zealand, at Lord’s from June 2 and at Edgbaston from June 10, with England due to name their squad for that series on Tuesday.
The paceman – who underwent successful hand surgery after an accident cleaning a fish tank at home earlier this year – missed England’s one-day international series in India in March, while his elbow injury also saw him absent for two of the four Test matches against Virat Kohli’s men that preceded the white-ball section of the tour.
Archer was also ruled out of the Indian Premier League before the coronavirus pandemic led to its suspension, with the seamer focusing on his recovery ahead of the international summer.
He retuned in style for Sussex on Thursday, dismissing England team-mate Zak Crawley and Kent captain Daniel Bell-Drummond during an opening spell of 3-6 from four overs, including 22 dots ball out of 24.
It appeared like Archer would bowl for Sussex again on Saturday with captain Ben Brown seemingly keen to get him into the attack.
Speaking after the game ended in a draw on Sunday, Brown explained the situation, saying: “It was a communication thing with Jofra on Saturday evening. There is no issue.
“I asked him beforehand if he was going to have a bowl and he said yes in a warm-up capacity. But he was feeling too sore to bowl.
“The issue here is a sad one for Jofra. He’s a champion cricketer, so talented and so gifted, but at the moment he cannot do what he wants to do – he cannot do his skill. 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 for him. He was hopeful about how it would go, but he’s felt pretty sore in this game.
“Jofra did the right thing playing in the Second XI game the previous week, and we all want him to be fully fit and firing for England and for the Ashes and things like that.
“We tried to do what was right for Jofra’s career, and he needed to play in this match to prove his fitness, but it just hasn’t worked out this week.”
England will also be without all-rounder Ben Stokes for the New Zealand series due to the fractured finger he sustained playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
The rest of England’s IPL contingent, including wicketkeeper Jos Buttler and all-rounders Moeen Ali, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, look set to be rested.
Watch the first Test between New Zealand and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Wednesday, June 2.
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