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Jofra Archer faces fitness race for first India Test after elbow surgery

Fast bowler to start "intensive rehabilitation period" before review in four weeks

Jofra Archer bowled 29.2 overs for Sussex's 2nd XI last week, Sussex 2nd XI vs Surrey 2nd XI, Hove, Day 2, May 5, 2021

Archer had surgery after failing to get through his comeback match for Sussex  •  Getty Images

Jofra Archer faces a race against time to be fit for the start of England's Test series against India in August, following surgery on his long-standing right elbow problem last week.
The ECB confirmed on Wednesday morning that Archer had undergone surgery on Friday following the advice of a specialist, and said that he would now begin "an intensive rehabilitation period working with the ECB and Sussex medical teams".
"His progress will be reviewed by his consultant in approximately four weeks at which point further guidance will be provided as to when he can return to bowling," a spokesperson said.
The timeframe for the injury puts Archer's involvement in the first Test of the India series - which starts on August 4 at Trent Bridge - in doubt. England's management hope that by dealing with the issue now, they can ensure his fitness for the T20 World Cup and the away Ashes series this winter, but there will be limited opportunities for Archer to play competitive four-day cricket before the first Test against India.
Sussex play two County Championship games and their final five matches of the T20 Blast group stage in early July, but there is no first-class cricket scheduled in England between July 14 and the start of the India series three weeks later. While Archer could play in second-team fixtures - or for Southern Brave in the inaugural season of the Hundred - that may prove insufficient to determine his fitness for a Test series.
Archer's elbow problems first came to light when he was forced to pull out of the New Year Test in Cape Town at the start of 2020 and was subsequently diagnosed with a stress fracture. The issue resurfaced during England's Test and T20I series in India, when Archer flew home ahead of the ODI leg of the tour and his stint with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL.
Archer also had surgery in March to remove a fragment of glass from a tendon in his hand sustained while trying to clean a fish tank in his bath, but his elbow problem forced him to withdraw completely from the IPL. He bowled 29.2 overs for Sussex's 2nd XI at the start of May, but could only get through 18 overs across his comeback match in the County Championship two weeks ago, and the ECB decided that surgery was the best option.