sport news Jofra Archer full of confidence following his emphatic six-wicket-haul against ... trends now
To hear Jofra Archer laughing and joking again was almost as satisfying as it was to witness his returning predatory prowess.
Olly Stone, said Archer, was now in a fight for England’s mid-innings enforcer role. ‘I could have bowled another 10 overs, to be honest,’ he smiled, highlighting a confidence escalated by marking his second appearance since putting 22 months of injury hell behind him with career-best international figures.
Upping those workloads will come in time, and will be dictated by England’s medical staff, but it was hard to witness the effortless ease with which Archer scythed through South Africa’s batting on Wednesday night and not imagine what impact he might have against Australia this summer, four years after his epic skirmishes with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
In truth, Archer, 27, had not produced this level of fast-bowling mastery since his astonishing debut summer of 2019, with the interim period a perpetual ritual of recovery. Even before his 679-day absence from England duty, which ended in Bloemfontein last Friday, he had been playing through pain from body parts requiring further investigation.
So how did the Barbados-born star get back to full fitness? And what next for a man whose very presence on a cricket field last month moved Test captain Ben Stokes to tweet: BUZZING BUZZING BUZZING.
Jofra Archer took career-best ODI figures of six for 40 against South Africa on Wednesday
It came in his first series back for England after 679 days out with various injuries
He dismissed four of South Africa's top six, including the dangerous Heinrich Klaasen for 80
Perhaps understandably for someone whose career has been dogged by fitness issues, Archer hates divulging details on his injuries, even to those close to him, but what is known is that it has taken three significant operations to repair stress fractures.
First, there were two goes at a stress fracture of his right elbow after lingering fragments of bone caused irritation first time around. The fact that issue developed within weeks of him taking 22 Ashes wickets and finishing as the most prolific bowler in a major tournament for England four years ago tells you something of the timescale.
Then, there was the secret surgery in New Zealand last year after the ECB’s medical team, headed by Rob Ahmun, sought the opinion of Christchurch back consultant Rowan Schouten. The modern New Zealand method for dealing with stress fractures has been a pars repair, a process in which two screws and a piece of titanium cable are inserted into the