Ben Stokes eager to play ODIs in lead-up to IPL, says England captain
Eoin Morgan has warned that no timeframe should be put on Jofra Archer’s recovery from a long-standing elbow injury, after it was confirmed that he would miss the three-match ODI series in India, starting on Tuesday, as well as the opening rounds of next month’s IPL.
Archer was one of England’s stand-out performers in the 3-2 T20I series defeat against India last week, claiming seven wickets at 22.14 in the five-match series, at an economy rate of 7.75.
However, his condition reportedly worsened as the matches progressed, with his four wicketless overs going for 43 in the final match, his least impactful contribution of the series.
“I can’t give a medical opinion,” Morgan, England’s white-ball captain, said. “We know the situation with his elbow, which got progressively worse, and we know it needs investigation. So only time will tell.
“The duty of care is towards the player. He’s given his heart and soul to us since he’s been involved, so all the care and attention will be given to him in order to get the best result possible.”
Chris Silverwood, England’s head coach, confirmed on Sunday that the decision to rest Archer had been a “mutual” one between the ECB and Rajasthan Royals, for whom he was an outstanding performer in 2020, earning the tournament’s MVP award for his 20 wickets at 18.25.
“Obviously I want Jofra at the World Cup and the Ashes,” Silverwood said. “Both parties have put England first, basically. He needs to get this right. He needs some time to do that so we’ve made space to make sure that we gave him the best chance of being successful for England.”
As to whether he will be able to feature at all for the Royals this season, with the tournament’s final set to take place on May 30, Morgan said the decision would rest with the team’s medical staff.
“It all depends on the outcome of the investigative stuff, the best rehabilitation programme coming back and we’ll go from there,” he said. “We fully trust our medical team, they’ve been outstanding in regards to player welfare and rehabilitation.”
Though Archer will be missing the ODI series, one player who is set to return to the format is his England and Royals team-mate Ben Stokes, who has not played a 50-over match since his starring role in the World Cup final at Lord’s in July 2019.
Although he is an integral part of England’s plans across all three formats, and played in each of the four Tests and five T20Is against India in recent weeks, Morgan said that Stokes’ willingness to be involved, and the short turnaround between this campaign and the start of the IPL on April 9, had persuaded the management not to rest him further.
“We have looked at various periods of rest for Ben,” Morgan said. “There’s potential [for more rest] when we get home in the summer, with the circumstances of bio-bubbles and when he can see his family. Here, we play three games in five days and Ben is staying on for the IPL, it would have meant he would have sat in his room, so he was keen to play.
“It is great to have him back,” he added. “Any opportunity we have to get him in a white-ball game is brilliant. He really enjoys his white-ball cricket and it is important to keep him engaged in that.
“If you don’t play a format for a long time, it can show neglect in certain parts of the game. We know how demanding the other formats are on his body and mind, so it is great to have him around.”
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @miller_cricket