England fast-bowler Jofra Archer will not play in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals this season after the ECB confirmed that he would return to action following an elbow injury in the early part of the county season.
Archer sustained a stress fracture of the right elbow during the first Test of England’s series in South Africa at the start of the year. As a result, he missed the next three Tests, the subsequent T20I series and was not considered for selection for England’s two Test series in Sri Lanka later this month.
An ECB statement on Saturday (March 7) confirmed that Archer is recovering as expected following a MRI scan in London this week. He will continue his rehabilitation over the next few weeks and will return to competitive cricket for Sussex in May ahead of England’s Test series against West Indies which begins in early June.
There had been some conjecture as to whether Archer might be fit to play for the Royals in this season’s IPL after the franchise had refused to rule it out. Given the IPL season begins on March 29 and Archer, who has an GBP 800,000 deal with the Royals, is expected to be bowling by then, it seemed a possibility.
However, with Archer centrally contracted to the ECB, they have the final say on his involvement and their statement ends any speculation. Archer will not be made available for this season’s IPL.
It is an understandable position. The ECB do not want to put Archer’s recovery in jeopardy by rushing him back into action ahead of an important year of international cricket which includes the T20 World Cup. Instead, they have opted to manage his recovery closely with the goal of him playing in the first Test against West Indies at The Kia Oval on June 4.
Archer will have a further scan in mid-April to check that his recovery is still on track before his return to match action for Sussex in the County Championship at some point in May. He is expected to begin bowling towards the end of March under the guidance of ECB Young Lions coach Jon Lewis and Sussex bowling coach James Kirtley.