Jofra Archer will be unavailable for England action for the foreseeable future
England fast bowler Jofra Archer has suffered a fresh injury setback, undergoing a second elbow operation that will keep him out of action until next summer.
Archer has not played at the highest level for nine months and his absence will stretch to over a year after it was decided the recurring stress fracture in his right elbow needed another operation.
He went under the knife on Saturday and, while the prognosis is not yet clear, he has already been ruled out of the three-Test tour of his native West Indies in March.
That series had been the 26-year-old’s stated comeback target but he must now set his sights on England’s domestic campaign in 2022.
Archer’s absence has been keenly felt during the ongoing Ashes campaign, a trip he had been expected to play a key role in before the extent of his fitness issues became apparent.
There are now legitimate worries over what kind of international career Archer will be able to enjoy.
He made a stunning introduction on the global stage in 2019, leading the England attack in its triumphant World Cup campaign and making an eye-catching Test debut against Australia at Lord’s just a few weeks later.
But he has never been able to recapture the magic of those early performances, down in no small part to the physical setbacks he has been railing against.
He is a hugely attractive asset on the lucrative Twenty20 circuit but has previously stated his desire to prove himself in the five-day format. Whether his body allows him to do so, remains to be seen.
Speaking to Australian broadcaster Channel 7 earlier this month, Archer appeared in optimistic mood about his rehabilitation.
"The (scan) results came back yesterday and it was quite promising, actually – everything is moving forward nicely," he said.
"It’s just a matter of waiting a little bit more and being a little bit more patient because I’m almost at the end of the road."
Announcing the latest disappointing developments, the England and Wales Cricket Board said: "Jofra Archer underwent a second operation on his injured right elbow on Saturday 11 December in London. The procedure addressed the long-standing stress fracture of his right elbow.
"A return to cricket will be determined in time, but Jofra will not be available for any of England’s remaining winter series."