Jofra Archer is relieved to be back playing instead of worrying about his body being damaged again as the speedster prepares for his first appearance for England in nearly two years.
Archer’s most recent international tour took place in March 2021, while last year’s comeback was ruled out due to a broken back, after overcoming an elbow problem that required two surgeries.
Estimated to be “about 80 per cent” in his recovery, Archer returned to competition this month and looks set to feature for England, who play three ODIs against South Africa next week.
He will do so after taking up cricket in South Africa’s newly formed T20 league, having played five games for MI Cape Town with the thought of injury far from his mind.
“It’s been good to play cricket and I don’t have to worry about my body breaking down,” Archer said.
“I think that was the most important tick for me so far. Playing cricket again for the first time a few weeks ago, I’m still getting away from it now.
“I’m still a little dry and trying to get rid of the rust. I’d probably say I’m about 80 percent. Good preparation now, just a lot more discipline than real cricket stuff.
“I know whenever I’m fit, I don’t think there’s much that can stop me, it’s just a matter of when.”
Archer, who was instrumental in England’s World Cup victory in 2019 and the Ashes series that followed this summer, insisted he remained happy despite spending a long time on the mend.
He has spent a lot of time in preparation in Barbados, where he was born, and has lived with his six dogs – Sheba, a French Mastiff, plus American Bullies Ace, Onyx, Ghost, Nova and Luna.
“I went crazy maybe a month after I got back to Barbados,” he said. “I had about five dogs in four weeks. The habit kept me going – scooping up more toilets and feeding more dogs!
“There’s no need to look back. I’ve done my time and I’m here now. That’s the most important thing.
“Honestly, I had a good time with the injury, I had things to go on – my friends, my family, the gym. I was injured. I’m happy.
Archer is unlikely to play in all three games against South Africa in the series which starts in Bloemfontein on Friday, with England having to rotate their options to avoid overcrowding.
In the year of the Ashes and the 50-over World Cup, keeping Archer would be a good fit for England.
Asked what excites him most about England’s twin challenges in 2023, Archer replied: “Hopefully 2019 can be a repeat. Please.”