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Coach Matthew Mott says Jofra Archer ‘fizzy’ for England return in South Africa ODI series

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Atthew Mott says Jofra Archer is straining to strap on his England return as the fast bowler looks to end nearly two years of injury-induced frustration.

Archer’s last international appearance came in March 2021, with his highly promising career derailed by an elbow problem that required two operations, followed by a stress fracture in his lower back.

He made his competitive return in South Africa’s first T20 franchise league this month and will increase his workload in the low-key ODI series against England’s Proteas starting on Friday.

While Archer is unlikely to play in three matches in six days, he is looking forward to playing for England according to Mott, who will get a chance to watch the 27-year-old up close for the first time.

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The England white-ball head coach said: “Having seen him from afar, I think he is one of the most exciting things to have happened to cricket in the last decade. It would be great to have him.

“He’s full throttle, quick and brings such energy. He’s one of those guys, if you’re sitting in the pub and he’s bowling, you’re going to see that. It’s a big deal.

“Everyone here will get a lift around bowlers like him, the extreme pace gives everyone that little extra confidence. He has spent a lot of time out there and I know he is all set to play.”

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If he stays fit, Archer is almost certain to be in England’s Ashes and World Cup hopes this year, as he had a breakout 2019 in which he starred across the red- and white-ball formats.

But with his lucrative Indian Premier League deal for Mumbai Indians, Mott is well aware that England’s hierarchy must be prudent with such a precious – and not easily replaceable – commodity.

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With England looking to regain the urn this summer and defend their 50-over World Cup title in the autumn, it could be that Archer is overlooked for any T20 international commitments this year.

Mott said: “The best thing I can say is that we have a general plan of what it could look like. We’re probably not going to make that public at this stage.

“We’ll work with him, see how his body is coping. I definitely think he’s a high priority and he’ll be managed as best as possible. We’re really aware of how much the players are playing .

“It’s not just the physical load, it’s the mental load that we really need to be mindful of. When we see the little red flags coming up, we act really decisively and try to reduce that load and Try to reduce the stress.”

Archer, plus Sam Curran, Adil Rashid, Olly Stone, Dawid Malan, Chris Woakes, Phil Salt and Moeen Ali joined England in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, joined by Harry Brook, David Willey and Ben Duckett.

Salt is doubtful for Friday due to a bug in his competition to open with out-of-form Jason Roy, who will complete England’s squad on Wednesday along with captain Jos Buttler and Reece Topley.

Matthew Mott (right)

, Action Image via Reuters

This compact series has been rescheduled for 2020 after a Covid-enforced cancellation and is the first thing for the tourists to do in a World Cup year.

England are without Test captain Ben Stokes after he retired from ODI cricket last year but Mott is hopeful that the star all-rounder will make a U-turn in time for the World Cup in India.

Mott said: “We’ve had a few hook ups here and there and I joked how’s it going, are you ready to make your decision? At the moment he’s not committed.

The door is always open for a player like this but we are also aware that his main focus as captain is red ball cricket.

“We need to be really flexible, open minded to the players and when we sit down to pick the 15 for the World Cup, we want to pick the best players.”

Additional reporting by PA.

(tags to translate) england cricket

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