Archer in need of 'fine-tuning' ahead of long-awaited England return

By Sports Desk January 25, 2023

England paceman Jofra Archer is just in need of some "fine-tuning" ahead of his long-awaited return to international action.

Archer has endured a torrid time with injuries across the last three years, and has not featured for England in any format since March 2021.

However, he is set to play against South Africa in a three-match ODI series, which starts in Bloemfontein on Friday.

"Hopefully it can be a repeat of 2019," Archer told reporters. "We've got again a 50-over World Cup and an Ashes in the same year so more of the same, please.

"There's no reason to look back. I've done my time and I'm here now. That's the most important thing.

"I'd probably say I'm about 80 per cent [fit]. Just some fine-tuning now.

"I know whenever I'm fully fit, I don't think there's much that can stop me, it's just a matter of when that was going to be."

Archer has warmed up for England's tour of South Africa by taking eight wickets for MI Cape Town in the SA20.

"Playing cricket again for the first time a few weeks ago, I'm still riding off that wave of emotions right now," said Archer, who is not expected to play in all three ODIs.

"Hopefully in two days it can go up another level. It's just been good to play cricket and actually not have to worry about if my body's going to give way. I think that was the most important tick for me so far."

England white-ball coach Matthew Mott is willing to be cautious with Archer's recovery.

"We will work through it with him, see how his body is coping," Mott said. "I definitely think he is a high priority and he will be managed as well as possible. 

"What he is very big on is not wasting too many balls in practice. He really loves his match balls and that's a great attest of his resilience.

"We will keep talking to him about his bowling loads and how he's going."

South Africa head into the series with ICC Men's Emerging Cricketer of the Year on board, Marco Jensen.

However, only two of his 39 wickets, and 16 of his 234 runs, have come in ODIs.

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