Jofra Archer – England paceman ‘to go straight into Ashes’ after IPL spell
Fast bowler Jofra Archer is unlikely to play any red-ball cricket before the Ashes series starts in June, according to Sussex head coach Paul Farbrace.
The 27-year-old is contracted to Mumbai Indians for the Indian Premier League, which begins on Friday and culminates in the final on 28 May.
England face Australia in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on 16 June.
“I think all things being equal, he will go straight into the Ashes off the back of the IPL,” Farbrace said.
There is a possibility that Archer could feature in England’s Test against Ireland at Lord’s, which begins on 1 June, but his availability will depend on Mumbai Indians’ progress in the IPL.
He returned to the England white-ball squad in late January following 17 months on the sidelines with an elbow injury and a stress fracture in his back.
Archer has taken 42 wickets at an average of 31.04 in his 13 Tests for England, but his most recent Test appearance was in the 10-wicket defeat by India in Ahmedabad in February 2021.
His last first-class game was for Sussex against Kent in May 2021.
Fellow England Test players Joe Root, captain Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone and Harry Brook are also involved in the IPL.
“The England plan for Jofra is he’ll go and play in the IPL,” Farbrace told BBC Radio Sussex.
“I think their plan is that between IPL games he’ll then bowl some longer spells to get his overs up and make sure that he is match-ready.
“That’s the nature of international franchise cricket these days. I know there’ll be a lot of people saying ‘he should play at least two four-day games to be ready for a Test match’, but the preparation and the work that the medical teams do around these players is exceptional.”
‘England are not daft’
Sussex have six fixtures in Division Two of the County Championship before the Ashes with their T20 Blast campaign starting on 26 May. Australia batter Steve Smith will join for a three-game County Championship stint in May.
However, given Archer’s commitments in the IPL, the right-arm paceman will not be in action for his county before England attempt to reclaim the Ashes urn for the first time since 2015.
“We’re really lucky here at Sussex. I think we have got an unbelievable medical set-up with some fantastic professionals,” former England assistant coach Farbrace said.
“That’s something that allows players like Jofra to move from T20 cricket to Test match cricket and be ready and prepared to go.
“England are not daft. They know that keeping the likes of Jofra fit for the Ashes will be really important to win the Ashes.
“They are saying ‘how can we make sure that we get Jofra prepared to play the Ashes and be the best version he can be?’ They’ve got a lot of good people around that squad who we need to trust and allow them to do their job.
“From a Sussex point of view we should be saying that he needs to play at least four Championship games otherwise he’s not going to be ready – but that’s not how it works.
“He is a centrally contracted player and we want him to be at this club for many years to come and we want him to be a big part of the future.”