Jofra Archer has been ruled out of appearing in the Indian Premier League after England opted against risking one of their key assets in a year that sees them looking to win the Twenty20 World Cup and regain the Ashes in Australia.
The fast bowler has recently returned to training in Hove following surgery to remove a shard of glass from his right middle finger and, more crucially, a second cortisone injection for the longstanding issue in his right elbow. But while Archer is now expected to make an appearance for the Sussex 2nd XI in the next fortnight, England have announced the 26-year-old will not be linking up with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and instead target a first-team return in the County Championship some time next month.
A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board read: “England and Sussex bowler Jofra Archer will not play in the 2021 Indian Premier League. Archer returned to bowling this week with higher intensity, and the ECB and Sussex medical teams will continue to monitor his progress.
“Archer will now step up his training regime starting next week and will be in full training with Sussex. It is expected that he will return to cricket in the next fortnight if he can continue to bowl and prepare pain-free.”
It is another blow for Rajasthan Royals. The franchise had already lost Ben Stokes to a fractured finger that rules the all-rounder out for up to 12 weeks and recently saw Liam Livingstone return to the UK before India joined the so-called ‘red list’ that requires arrivals from the country to quarantine for 10 days.
However the decision, made in conjunction with Archer and influenced by an eight-day period of isolation in India that would have disrupted his rehabilitation, suggests English cricket has not yet ceded all power over its players to the IPL.
Archer, whose £800,000 deal at Rajasthan will now hinge on his insurance arrangements, remains central to England’s plans in all formats and the hope now is that he can avoid elbow surgery during what is a crucial 12-month period.
Meanwhile, organisers for the Hundred have confirmed “wickets” will not be replaced by “outs” during coverage of the new tournament this summer following a public backlash to the recent suggestion.
A spokesperson said: “The Hundred is designed to make cricket accessible to everyone, so language should not be a barrier either in discovering cricket for the first time, or going on to play or watch other formats of the game. We will continue to use ‘wickets’ as the metric which is consistent with other formats.”