'Difficult to imagine him recovering from this, play long-form cricket again': Ex-England captain's bold take on Archer
In a major blow to England cricket, pacer Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the season due to a stress fracture of his back. The 27-year-old bowler has not played competitively since last July, was absent for the T20 World Cup and missed the subsequent Ashes tour of Australia with an elbow injury.
Archer, who has appeared in 13 Tests, 17 ODIs and 12 T20Is for England, had a second elbow operation in December to address a stress fracture. His latest injury raises question marks over the future, especially when the paceman was hoping to make his comeback from a long-term elbow injury for Sussex in the T20 Blast next week.
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has passed his verdict on Archer's injury lay-off, saying the Barbados-born bowler might not play long-form cricket again following another setback.
"It's terrible news for poor Jofra Archer that he'll miss the whole summer. He's shown moments of brilliance for England and other teams and it's just a horrible blow for him. It's difficult to imagine him recovering from this to play long-form cricket again, that's the horrible reality. Hopefully, he can still carve out a top-level white-ball career," said Pietersen on <i>Betway Insider</i>.
"His stress fracture to the back follows a pattern of these injuries being sustained by England bowlers. I do think that the number of sports scientists can complicate things far too much. When I was playing, fast bowlers used to bowl a lot of overs in the nets and got bowling fit."
Archer was also bought by IPL franchise Mumbai Indians for his express pace, which remains a dangerous weapon despite his struggles with injury. He initially made waves with his blistering speed during England's successful run in the 2019 World Cup on home soil.
As Archer's fitness and availability remain hot topics of debate, Pietersen spoke about legends Curtly Ambrose, Shaun Pollock and Glenn McGrath, who managed to prolong their careers and put in the hard yards as well.
"They (several past fast-bowling greats) went through the hard yards in their preparation and weren't molly-coddled in between games. Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and all the other greats weren't told how many balls they could bowl by a sports scientist every day.
"They knew their bodies and got properly fit. It feels now like England's fast bowlers can't cope with tough, long days with the ball because they're not used to it," Pietersen further said.