Jofra Archer required two surgeries on their troublesome elbow but a stress fracture to the lower back has forced him out for the season; ECB says no timeframe has been set for return; after-effects of Covid lockdown could be contributing factor to a spate of stress fractures, says ECB specialist

England and Sussex seamer Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture to the lower back.

Archer has not played for England since their T20I series in India last March and has undergone three bouts of surgery in the last 14 months with one on his hand to remove a shard of glass, and two on his elbow.

The 27-year-old trained with England in Barbados as part of his rehabilitation earlier this year and he had planned on making his comeback for Sussex in their opening Blast fixture against Glamorgan later this month.

There were hopes that he could play some T20 cricket for England before the end of the season but the latest injury has put paid to any prospect of that.

A statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board read: “After being diagnosed with a stress fracture to the lower back, England and Sussex seamer Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

“No timeframe has been set for his return. A management plan will be determined following further specialist opinion over the coming days.”

He is the third England bowler to be diagnosed with a stress fracture in the past week, with Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood and Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher both receiving similar news.

The Barbados-born quick enjoyed a sensational start to his England career after becoming eligible in 2019, immediately assuming a central role in the one-day team’s victorious World Cup campaign and delivering the tense super over that sealed the trophy.

He then proved his credentials with the red ball, making an unforgettable Test debut at Lord’s in the Ashes. During that match, he bowled a fearsome, hostile spell against Steve Smith that saw the Australia batter become the first player to be substituted under concussion protocols.

But he has managed just 12 more Test appearances since then, with his elbow problems repeatedly forcing him out of contention. England initially tried to treat the joint with injections but eventually conceded that surgery would be necessary.

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