23 February 2024 6:24 PM
The Ashes 2023: Mark Wood backs Jofra Archer to be fit and ready to feature for England this summer | Cricket News

Mark Wood has backed Jofra Archer to be “mentally and physically ready” to feature in the Ashes and believes he can play a key role for England this summer.

Archer has not played Test cricket since February 2021 and has undergone multiple operations over the past two years, although impressed in white-ball tours for England over the winter in South Africa and Bangladesh.

The 28-year-old played for Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League opener on April 2 but missed their next four matches, with Archer angered by reports that he left IPL to have surgery on his right elbow in Belgium.

Archer bowled his full four-over allocation on his Mumbai return over the weekend before being rested for Tuesday’s fixture, with Wood expecting his team-mate to be available for Ben Stokes’ side when the Ashes begins in 50 days’ time.

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Punjab Kings’ Liam Livingstone smashes his international teammate Jofra Archer’s delivery for a huge six in the Indian Premier League

“I feel for Jofra actually and I can sympathise with him quite a bit there,” Wood told Sky Sports news. “You feel like you’re just getting back and then you have a little setback and things happen.

“The curve’s never in a straight line is it, you know that on the way back you’re going to have bumps along the way. He’s a champion player and I’m sure he’ll come back and be a champion again.

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England captain Ben Stokes says that his side won’t change the way they play against Australia in the Ashes

“I think, reading between the lines, it sounds like it’s not a massive setback that he’s going to have. He has overcome bigger things and I’m sure that he will be ready for the Ashes.

“England aren’t going to be silly with things. They’re going to know they want him for that series and they’re going to be looking ahead. He’ll get great treatment there in Mumbai and England will look after him so that, come the Ashes, he will be mentally and physically ready.”

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Michael Atherton looks ahead to the upcoming Ashes series between England and Australia

Who could feature for England?

Archer’s return to fitness adds to Ben Stokes’ possible bowling options, with Wood expecting plenty of competition for places over the five-Test series.

“I think he [Archer] is not the only one,” Wood added. “Olly Stone is around, Chris Woakes is playing county cricket at the minute, and we’ve got probably eight or nine bowlers to choose from.

“There’s Matty Potts, Sam Curran’s out here [India] and there’s all these guys that will all have an eye on an Ashes place. Then you’ve got the phenomenal [James] Anderson, [Stuart] Broad and [Ollie] Robinson, so Stokesy [Ben Stokes] has got plenty to choose from.

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A positive Ollie Robinson looks forward to a big summer of cricket, including a highly anticipated Ashes series

“Whoever gets the nod will be flying for England and trying to best Australia, our rivals. There’s sort of bigger picture where if you don’t play, when you get in the team you’re there to make an impact and try to get us over the line and get those Ashes back.”

Stokes will lead England for the first time in an Ashes series, with the hosts looking to regain the urn for the first time since 2015, and – after a four-day Test against Ireland – it will all begin at Edgbaston on June 16.

The series will then move onto Lord’s (June 28-July 2) and Headingley (July 6-10), the scene of Stokes’ 2019 heroics, before finishing at Emirates Old Trafford (July 19-23) and The Kia Oval (July 27-31).

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Ollie Pope says that there’s real excitement around the England team for this summer’s Ashes series.

“I think Australia are a world-class team and I think it will be a great series,” Wood added. “I wouldn’t like to predict and say it’s going to be one way or another. What I will say is that everyone has doubted this England team before, saying ‘oh they won’t do it against this team’ or ‘they’ll struggle against this team’.

“To win in Pakistan I think was a huge tick in the box. This team is capable of achieving great things and I wouldn’t want to put any marker on and say we can’t do anything, or set the bar at any sort of level, because I think this team can really achieve great things.”

Watch every match from the men’s and women’s Ashes live on Sky Sports. You can also follow videos and over-by-over text commentary across Sky Sports’ digital platforms. Live coverage of the first Test is live from June 16-20 on Sky Sports Cricket.

Source : https://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/12040/12867376/the-ashes-2023-mark-wood-backs-jofra-archer-to-be-fit-and-ready-to-feature-for-england-this-summer?rand=3094

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