'I'm fully back!': Jofra Archer insists he is ready to make up for lost time after bowling in an England kit for the first time in 20 MONTHS... as the Sussex quick insists he has NO DESIRE to give up red ball cricket

Jofra Archer is currently featuring in the England vs England Lions tour match The England quick bowled for the Lions during Day 1 of the game in Abu DhabiIt was the first time Archer had bowled in an England kit since March 2021Archer has suffered significant injury troubles but is on the road to recoveryHe insisted he felt fully fit, and had no desire to give up red ball cricket  

On Wednesday morning, in front of a dozen or so local spectators and a handful of children on a school trip for the day, Jofra Archer ran in and bowled his first ball in an England kit since March 2021. It was quite the setting for one of the more eagerly anticipated returns in English cricket.

After an elbow injury and a stress fracture of the back, finally there is a sense of feeling that the agony is over for Archer. Asked whether he felt he was at around 80 or 90 percent, Archer replied, ‘To be honest, I will say I’m fully back.’

That is news that will come as a delight to England fans. And though the 27-year-old isn’t expected to make his full return for England until their ODI series against South Africa in January, there were plenty of signs for optimism during his nine overs across two spells in England’s warm-up match against the England Lions.

Jofra Archer bowled his first ball in an England kit for 20 months in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday

Jofra Archer bowled his first ball in an England kit for 20 months in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday

Archer struck Zak Crawley’s helmet with a bouncer and the speedgun at the Tolerance Oval in Abu Dhabi recorded him hitting speeds of around 90mph.

‘Nothing compares to being out there. This is the first time I’ve been so close to umpires in about 18-months as well,’ said Archer.

He has been in the UAE with the Lions squad progressing his rehab from injury but being back out in the middle was an emotional moment for the England quick.

‘My phone kept going off for a long time after. My friends said they couldn’t believe all the messages,’ said Archer. ‘It was nice and a really really big day. A small day but still a big day.’

Archer hasn't played for England since March 2021 after suffering several severe injuries

Archer hasn’t played for England since March 2021 after suffering several severe injuries

For Archer, the key now is to ensure he can look forward to restarting a career that began with such energy and expectation and he admitted he tried to stay away from the game during his time out.

‘Being back in Barbados, the time difference helped a lot with not being able to watch a lot of cricket. I watched some of the Ashes (2021/22) because it would come on just as I was going to bed, but you don’t watch as intently. The wickets were really good in Australia, I’m not going to lie. it was a little bit painful to watch on TV,’ said Archer.

But he insisted that the desire to play red-ball cricket is still there despite his injury setbacks. ‘Our squad is strong enough that I can play all formats all year round,’ said Archer. ‘To be honest I’m actually surprised that I actually heard it (people saying he would just play white-ball only) that often.’

The England quick has been a revelation when he has played, being a major part of the 2019 50-over World Cup win - Archer bowled the super over during the final against New Zealand

The England quick has been a revelation when he has played, being a major part of the 2019 50-over World Cup win – Archer bowled the super over during the final against New Zealand

England managing director Rob Key pleaded for patience as the quick builds up his fitness, but revealed a plan was in place to ensure Archer is ready to go for The Ashes next summer

England managing director Rob Key pleaded for patience as the quick builds up his fitness, but revealed a plan was in place to ensure Archer is ready to go for The Ashes next summer

‘You’d be crazy not to say you want to go to Pakistan. But that might not be the best move. I’d rather take these last few months very seriously, more serious than probably all of the rehab. Because once this phase goes right then it can set me up for the next three to four years injury free. That’s the goal right now,’ he added.

England managing director Rob Key said the Test series in New Zealand in February would come too soon for Archer but that a plan was in place to ensure he is ready for The Ashes next summer.

‘The absolute key for Jofra is that we don’t want him to go through what he has been through for the last year and a half ever again,’ said Key. ‘The plan is that his first competitive cricket will be a couple of games in the SA20, which will be a good lead into the ODI series in South Africa, Then he has Bangladesh, the IPL and hopefully the Ashes. That’s the plan, but you have to be flexible.’

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