Matthew Mott, England’s white-ball coach, has said Jofra Archer is straining at the leash to make his international return as the fast bowler prepares to end nearly two years of injury-induced frustration.
Archer’s last international appearance came in March 2021, with his hugely-promising career derailed by a niggling elbow problem that required two operations followed by a stress fracture of the lower back.
He made his competitive comeback this month in South Africa’s inaugural T20 franchise league and will step up his workload in England’s otherwise low-key ODI series against the Proteas, starting on Friday.
While Archer is highly unlikely to feature in three games in six days, he is desperate to play for England, according to Mott, who will get a chance to see the 27-year-old up close for the first time.
The Australian said: “Having watched him from a distance, I think he’s one of the most exciting things to have happened in cricket for the last decade. It will be great to have him.”
Mott, who joined England after great success with Australia’s women’s team, added: “He’s full throttle, fast and brings such energy. He is one of those guys that if you are there sitting in the pub and he’s bowling, you’re watching. That’s a big thing to have.
“Everyone here will get a lift around bowlers like him, those with extreme pace gives everyone that little bit of extra confidence. He’s spent a lot of time out and I know he’s absolutely frothing to play.”
If he remains fit, Archer is certain to be central to England’s Ashes and World Cup hopes this year, but first he has a Indian Premier League stint with Mumbai Indians.
Archer may thus be overlooked for T20 internationals this year.
Mott said: “The best thing I can say is that we have a general plan of what it might look like. We’re probably not going to make that public at this stage.
“We will work through it with him, see how his body is coping. I definitely think he is a high priority and he will be managed as well as possible.”
England continue to be without Test skipper Ben Stokes following his ODI retirement last year but Mott remains hopeful the star all-rounder performs a U-turn in time for the World Cup in India.
Mott said: “We’ve had a couple of hook ups here and there and I jokingly said ‘how are you going? Are you ready to make your decision?’ At the moment he’s non-committal.
“The door is always open for a player of that quality but we are also very aware that his main focus is is red-ball cricket as the captain.
“We need to keep a really flexible, open mind to players and when we sit down to pick that 15 for the World Cup, we want to pick the best players possible.”