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Jofra Archer to consider playing future if injuries continue for another year
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Jofra Archer to consider playing future if injuries continue for another year

Jofra Archer has hinted another year of persistent injury setbacks could lead him to question his future as the fast bowler looks to stage his latest comeback for England in time for this summer’s T20 World Cup defence.

A 50-over World Cup winner in 2019, not to mention a scorching new arrival in Test cricket during the Ashes series that followed, Archer has spent the bulk of the past two years on the sidelines due to recurring stress fractures in both his right elbow and his lower back.

But England have kept faith in Archer’s talents, handing him a two-year central contract last autumn, and are increasingly hopeful that the clouds may be about to lift. The 29-year-old took part in a pre-season tour of India for Sussex, bowling quickly by all accounts, and made a low-key T20 return for club side Wildey in Barbados last weekend.

Fingers remain very crossed, clearly, and not least given the mental toll that such a cruel run of injuries, plus months of inactivity, have taken. It is something Archer has laid bare in a newly released podcast from 4Cast, the athlete media and investments company set up by himself, Ben Stokes and Stuart Broad three years ago.

Archer said: “I haven’t played cricket for a whole 12 months as yet. Last year I played from January to May. I think the year before that, I played maybe one or two games for Sussex, so you know I’ve had a whole year of nothing. It feels like that sometimes.

“It’s been a while and honestly, I don’t know if I’ve got another stop-start year in me. That’s the truth, I don’t know if I’ve got another one.”

Rob Key, England men’s team director, has already said 2024 will be about managing Archer’s return in short-form cricket before thoughts turn towards a possible Test return next year. The initial target is the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean this June, something Archer says he will try not to view as make-or-break should it come too soon.

Jofra Archer in the nets in 2023 in Bridgetown, BarbadosView image in fullscreen

Archer added: “Worst-case scenario – I don’t really want to think about this – but even if I don’t make it to the World Cup for whatever reason, there’s still the T20 Blast, there’s still the Hundred. There’s still cricket that I haven’t got a chance to play in the last couple of years. So as much as I want to play in the World Cup, if it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, at least I still know I could be somewhat active.”

The acid test for the T20 World Cup is likely to be England’s four-match T20 series at home to Pakistan in late May, with teams due to name their preliminary squads at the start of the month but able to make changes up until a week before the tournament starts.

Source: theguardian.com