England dealt hammer blow as Jofra Archer ruled out for rest of the year

Jofra Archer

Ollie Phillips

Jofra Archer has suffered a second stress fracture to his right elbow after scans last week. The fast-bowler had an operation in May on the same elbow, returning to play cricket in July, but was experiencing pain during his Sussex appearances in the T20 Blast. At just 26, the recurrence of the problem will leave the England hierarchy sweating over his future in the game of Test cricket, a famously brutal examination of a bowler's physique.

Archer's injury means that he has been ruled out for the rest of 2021, including the rest of the Test Series against India, the T20 World Cup in October and, most disappointingly, the Ashes series in Australia starting in December. The next five months have been declared a decisive period in the history of English cricket, and career-defining for many of its players.

Archer was particularly central in England's plans for the T20 World Cup, where his box-office pace is key in taking wickets within the opening powerplay, and for the Ashes down under, where quick, bouncy pitches would suit his aggression. During England's most recent failure in Australia, one of the chief criticisms was a lack of out-and-out pace in the seam attack that so starkly contrasted with the Aussie line-up.

With England struggling against India in the first Test at Trent Bridge, the news of Archer's continued absence will cast another gloomy shadow over the state of the game in the country. With the other 90 miles-per-hour exponents Mark Wood and Olly Stone unreliable in terms of their fitness, do not be suprised to see the likes of Saqib Mahmood or Brydon Carse wearing the Three Lions before long.