England fast bowler Jofra Archer was ruled out of the upcoming Ashes series on Tuesday because of ongoing problems with his right elbow that have limited his playing time since 2021, bedevilling the career of one of cricket’s most exciting talents.
Archer will miss the entire summer of international cricket, England said after scans revealed he has sustained a recurrence of a stress fracture to his elbow.
England managing director Rob Key said on a video call it was too soon to say if the Barbados-born pacer could return in time for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India over October and November when England will be defending the trophy, and Archer helped the team win on home soil in 2019.
“The poor lad is pretty distraught about what has happened,” Key said. “You just hope his luck turns.”
The 28-year-old Archer underwent two operations on his elbow in 2021 and was forced to cut short his time in this season’s Indian Premier League after experiencing discomfort in the same area just when it appeared he was free from injury. He also missed last year’s international summer because of a stress fracture in his back.
“He’s like a Formula One car almost,” Key said.
“You just hope that down the line he will overcome this, that his body will get robust enough to deal with the rigors of everything.”
The Ashes start on June 16 with the first of five tests. England will warm up for the series with a one-off test against Ireland at Lord’s from June 1.
England selected a 15-man squad for the Ireland match and included Jonny Bairstow, who is set to play for his country for the first time since breaking his left leg and ankle when slipping during a round of golf.
Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes was dropped to make room for Bairstow, who will play as a wicketkeeper-batter and starred for England with some explosive performances with the bat in the middle order last year. Key said Bairstow will bat at No. 7 this summer.
“It was a seriously tough decision to leave Ben Foakes out of the squad,” Key said. “He has been excellent for England in the last year, but Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in the world whose performances last summer epitomized what we are about.”
With Chris Woakes back in the test squad for the first time since March 2022, Mark Wood returning after taking a break from the New Zealand tour, and James Anderson shrugging off a minor groin injury, England has a deep stock of pace bowlers from which to choose.
Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, and Matthew Potts are other fast bowlers in the squad, while captain Ben Stokes is another option, even if he has played mostly as a batter in the IPL to reduce the toll on his body.
Key said he expected Stokes to play in the Ireland test and be available to bowl.
Unlike Archer, who exploded onto the international scene in 2019 by helping England win the 50-over Cricket World Cup for the first time and then starring in the home Ashes series that year in his first taste of test cricket.