Archer set for England ODI return in South Africa


Jofra Archer is in line for his first England appearance in almost two years after being named in the one-day squad to play South Africa early next year.

The fast bowler, 27, has not played for England since March 2021 because of back and elbow injuries.

Test batters Ben Duckett and Harry Brook are in, while bowler Reece Topley has recovered from the ankle injury he suffered at October’s T20 World Cup.

The sides will play in three one-day internationals, starting on January 27.

Mark Wood has been rested after the 3-0 Test series whitewash of Pakistan, while Joe Root has not been named in the squad.

Former Test captain Root has signed for the Dubai Capitals in the International League T20, which takes place in the UAE from January 13 to February 12.

All-rounder Liam Livingstone, who injured his knee during the second day of the first Test in Rawalpindi, misses out.

The series will act as the start of preparations for England’s defence of their 50-over world title in India in the autumn, although a two-Test tour of New Zealand follows two weeks after the final ODI.

Archer made a thrilling start to his international career in 2019, bowling the Super Over in the World Cup final and taking 22 wickets in the Ashes series later that summer, but his progress has since been halted.

After recovering from two bouts of elbow surgery, he suffered a back stress fracture in May, which ruled him out of the season.

He bowled for England Lions in a practice match against the full England side in the United Arab Emirates last month. Otherwise he has played two first-team matches since his last England appearance – both for Sussex last May.

The three-match series in South Africa was originally due to be played in 2020 but England flew home after the T20 leg following COVID-19 concerns.

England are also scheduled to tour Bangladesh for three ODIs and three T20s in March.

‘He wouldn’t be going if he couldn’t play a full part’

Former England bowler Steven Finn believes that Archer could be in line to play a significant role in the series.

“He wouldn’t be named in that squad – which is only 14 players strong – If they didn’t anticipate that he could play a full part in the series,” Finn told BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra.

“England are not in the business of using full international matches for players to build up their fitness.

“The fact he has missed so much cricket has been a shame because he is in the prime of his career age-wise.

“Getting the injury sorted and having a sensible, managed route back to playing the longer format of the game, where everyone wants to see him, is a logical progression.”

England one-day squad to play South Africa: Jos Buttler (c, wk), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Dawid Malan. Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes (BBC Sport)

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