Jofra Archer has been ruled out of next month’s Test series against New Zealand due to a long-standing elbow injury, plunging his availability for England’s hectic upcoming schedule into serious doubt.
The 26-year-old fast bowler returned to action in this week’s LV= Insurance County Championship match against Kent – his first competitive appearance since undergoing surgery at the end of March to remove a piece of glass from his hand – but bowled only five overs in the visitors’ second innings at Hove.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed in a statement on Sunday evening that Archer would not feature in the squad to face the Black Caps, saying he was “suffering from pain in his right elbow when bowling”.
It added: “The England and Sussex medical teams will now seek guidance, and Archer will see a medical consultant later this week to determine the next course of action on the management of his elbow.”
The Test squad is set to be finalised on Monday, though England had already been expected to handle Archer’s comeback cautiously even if the game against Kent had gone well.
The setback will come as a big concern to England selectors and fans alike, with the T20 World Cup, due to be held in October and November in India, on the horizon, followed by the Ashes series in Australia.
Sussex captain Ben Brown addressed the Archer situation after the drawn match against Kent, expressing his sadness for his team-mate that he was “feeling too sore to bowl”.
Archer had looked to be proving his fitness, having taken three wickets during the opening two days of this week’s championship match.
But Sussex coach Ian Salisbury confirmed on Saturday evening that he would not bowl another ball in the encounter.
Salisbury said there had been some “confusion” over the state of Archer’s fitness on Saturday, with Brown seemingly asking him to bowl and Archer being unable to do so.
Brown said after the match: “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.”