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Jofra Archer: Joe Root defends use of injured fast bowler

Jofra Archer made his England debut in May 2019 and has since bowled 2,405 deliveries across the three international formats

England Test captain Joe Root has defended the team’s use of Jofra Archer following the fast bowler’s injury.

The 24-year-old has been ruled out of England’s tour of Sri Lanka next month and the Indian Premier League because of a low-grade stress fracture in his right elbow.

Archer has played all three formats of the international game since his England debut in May 2019.

“I wouldn’t say he’s been over-bowled,” Root said.

Archer first felt pain in the elbow area in last year’s triumphant World Cup campaign and though England insisted the problem was carefully managed, he bowled more overs than any of his international team-mates in 2019.

He has sent down 274 overs in his first seven Tests, in which he has taken 30 wickets, with some critics commenting that 42 overs in the first innings of his maiden overseas match in New Zealand in November was excessive.

Root, however, pointed to the Barbadian-born fast bowler’s spells in the Big Bash and Indian Premier Leagues before he qualified to play for England last year as contributory factors.

“You look at the amount of cricket he’s played before he played for England, he’s played a huge amount, and he came into international cricket and took the world by storm,” said Root.

“He’s had a phenomenal start on the international stage and should be extremely proud of what he has achieved already in his short career.

“You just look at the international schedule and it’s full on if you’re playing all three formats. Chuck in an IPL, Big Bash… that’s a lot of mental fatigue as well as physical.”

Archer is now aiming to be fit for the English summer and the three-match Test series with West Indies in June.

“One of the pleasing things is we are actually really clear on what the injury is now,” added Root.

“We’re all gutted for him missing out, but it will be good for him to have a mental break to get some time away from the game, to get refreshed.”

Anderson in contention for Sri Lanka tour

Meanwhile, Root said England’s leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson, who broke a rib in the second Test of the series in South Africa, could feature in the two-match series with Sri Lanka, starting in Galle on 19 March.

“He’ll certainly be a discussion point, I’m sure,” Root said of the 37-year-old, the fourth-highest wicket-taker in Test history.

“The discussion will be where exactly he’s at with his fitness, and what the parameters are ahead of what’s going to be a big summer of cricket as well.”

All-rounder Moeen Ali took a break from cricket last year but is part of England’s one-day squads in South Africa.

However, Root said the 32-year-old’s wellbeing is more important that a return to Test cricket.

“It’d be great if he’s available but… we’ve got to make sure that he’s happy within himself,” said Root. “He’s enjoying his cricket and that he doesn’t rush back if he doesn’t need to. His wellbeing is a priority for us.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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