WORLD OF CRICKET: England should not panic following Archer's injury

WORLD OF CRICKET: Jofra Archer’s latest elbow flare-up is concerning, but England should not panic – in the two old campaigners Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, supported by Ollie Robinson, they have enough to hurt Australia

  • England paceman has returned home from the IPL due to latest elbow trouble
  • The latest injury throws into fresh doubt Jofra Archer’s availability this summer
  • Ben Stokes has plentiful options with which he can hurt the Australian top order

So, it looks increasingly like England’s attack for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston next month is going to again be similarly ‘medium-fast’ paced with little of the x-factor Ben Stokes has already identified as crucial on what he hopes will be ‘flat and fast’ pitches.

There will almost certainly be no Jofra Archer and no Olly Stone, with only Mark Wood able to propel the ball at more than 90 miles per hour and available, at this stage, to an England captain desperate to fight Australian bowling fire with fire.

The alternatives with a point of difference about them are Brydon Carse at Durham and Saqib Mahmood, even though he was left out of the Lancashire side that faced Nottinghamshire last week to manage his recovery from long-term injury. He will be back in action on Tuesday against Somerset.

But, in the legendary words of Corporal Jones, ‘don’t panic.’ I would not be surprised if England’s seam attack on June 16 is comprised of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson alongside spinner Jack Leach and I would not be worried about that at all.

Yes, it is the same attack that floundered so badly in Australia in the last Ashes and, it should be said, struggled to maintain its effectiveness in the second innings against New Zealand in Wellington earlier this year when Stokes enforced the follow on.

Jofra Archer is a doubt for England’s Ashes campaign this summer after he withdrew from the Indian Premier League after suffering more elbow issues

Naturally the news regarding Archer has been met with some consternation from some quarters – but England have enough know-how and skill in their ranks

But, of course, it is a very different matter at home where the big two in Anderson and Broad are, remarkably, still going strong and can be backed to make a decisive impact in what is surely even their last Ashes series, certainly at home.

Most importantly, Robinson is a very different cricketer to the one who became a symbol for all that was wrong with English cricket when he was bowled backing away at Hobart to become the last wicket to fall in the last away Ashes humiliation.

It is no exaggeration to say Robinson has become England’s most important bowler and to watch him playing for Sussex at Worcester last week, where he took 14 wickets in the match, was to watch a man who was a class above anyone else on show and ready to give Australia ‘the good hiding’ he so refreshingly predicted earlier this season.

Yes, it is a bit of a concern he has already had a painkilling injection in his back this season and hobbled off with cramp at the end of his Herculean effort at New Road. 

It is unsurprising and reassuring he is being rested from Sussex’s game against Leicestershire.

But he is a far cry from the man who had to overcome so much adversity earlier in his international career. 

There is little extreme pace in the England attack but there is a bowler who is looking more and more like Glenn McGrath with every appearance.

Ollie Robinson’s continued career resurgence makes for good reading for Ben Stokes 

Sooner Stokes and Root return home to prepare properly the better

It seems utterly bizarre any team would leave out Stokes, even when he is not fit to bowl, but that is the situation he finds himself in at Chennai Super Kings.

The IPL side signed the England captain for £1.6million this year but he has been out since April 3 with a toe injury. 

He is fit and available again now – only CSK left him out of Wednesday’s match against Delhi Capitals, with batting coach Mike Hussey saying spinning conditions have forced them to pick another slow bowler instead.

The good news is Stokes is very positive about the state of that chronic left knee and is increasingly confident of playing a bowling part in the Ashes but it does seem to be a strange way to get ready for the Test series that will define his England captaincy.

Meanwhile Joe Root did actually finally get a game for Rajasthan Royals against Sunrisers Hyderabad but wasn’t required to bat. 

Honestly, the sooner two of the most important cricketers in England’s armoury return home to prepare properly the better. There are only five weeks, remember, until the Ashes begins.

Neither Ben Stokes nor Joe Root have enjoyed ideal Ashes preparation out in India this year

Root finally got a game for Rajasthan Royals against Sunrisers Hyderabad – but the sooner he and his Test captain successor are home the better

Enjoy international cricket while you still can 

How depressing to read my colleague Matt Hughes’ revelation in Mail Sport that Mumbai Indians are preparing to offer Archer a 12-month deal that would replace his central-contract and force England to ask permission whenever they sought to play him. 

Depressing but sadly inevitable. England will try to hit back with multi-year contracts but the fact is they will struggle to match the financial might of India, especially if they do a deal with Saudi Arabian backers. I repeat, enjoy international cricket while you can.

The creeping inevitability of England players being tied down to year-long IPL contracts draws nearer and nearer

Moving occasion at the Oval 

There is a particular reason to keep an eye on the Oval on Thursday at lunch time during the first day of Surrey’s Championship match against Middlesex.

For arriving after a run from Lord’s will be Surrey bowler Matt Dunn, a group of his family and friends and 20 people from the ‘everydayinmay4dravet’ group who have been running – or in my case walking – 5k every day to raise money to combat the severe form of epilepsy that took the life of Dunn’s two-year-old daughter Florence.

Surrey have dedicated this match to the fundraising efforts of Dunn who told his incredibly moving story to Mail Sport at the start of this month and is now playing such an important part in the nationwide attempt to raise awareness in the little known Dravet Syndrome that has such a devastating impact on so many families.

Dunn’s target is to raise £50,000 and his fund currently stands at £23,000 so if you can help please go to Florence Dunn’s Go Fund Me page or Tamara Ward’s ‘everydayinmay4dravet’ Just Giving page where an amazing group affected in some way by the condition are hoping to raise another £50,000. They all really are an inspiration.

Florence died in March after being diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy

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