Ashley Giles, England’s director of cricket, said long-term fitness of the fast bowler was the priority as he also has further treatment on his elbow
Jofra Archer‘s participation in this year’s IPL will be decided later this week, following a bizarre incident prior to England’s tour of India, in which he dropped a tropical fish tank in his bath and suffered a cut middle finger on his right hand.
The incident occurred at Archer’s flat in Hove in January, and although the finger healed sufficiently for him to take part in both the Test and T20I legs of the tour, the England management decided it would be prudent to investigate the wound properly after he flew home ahead of last week’s ODIs to undergo treatment on a long-term elbow injury.
Ashley Giles, England’s director of cricket, told the BBC’s Tuffers and Vaughan show that Archer had undergone a successful operation on Monday, and confirmed that the reports about the nature of the injury were true.
“This is going to sound like an awful conspiracy and I can see what’s going happen on Twitter as soon as I say this,” Giles said. “But, yeah, he was cleaning at home. He’s got a fish tank. He dropped the fish tank, cut his hand, and he’s been in surgery today.
“He’s come out of it well. It was managed through India, he was treated when he arrived and it wasn’t an open wound on that finger. It didn’t stop him playing, but given he came home for an injection on his elbow, he went to a specialist because the finger was still a bit stiff.
“They’ve operated and I think they found a small fragment of glass still in attendance. It obviously healed but there was part of the fish tank still in his finger. So, it was the right thing to do. We’ve got a clear window to do it as well. We wish him the best for his recovery but it’s true, it’s not a conspiracy.”
Archer, who has a £800,000 contract with Rajasthan Royals, was named MVP at the most recent tournament in November, but was already due to miss the start of this year’s event, which gets underway on April 9, because of his elbow complaint.
The issue, which is not believed to be directly related to the elbow fracture he sustained on last year’s tour of South Africa, caused Archer to miss the second and fourth Tests of England’s 3-1 series defeat. Though he played in all five T20Is of their subsequent 3-2 loss, he required a cortisone injection to make it through the series, and underwent another round of treatment on his return to London.
“At the front of our minds is making sure that Jofra’s fit and available to do what he does best, which is bowl quick and enjoy his bowling,” Giles said. “His elbow injury certainly stopped him from doing that, and through the T20 series, that condition worsened and he couldn’t play without some form of pain relief.
“You have to manage these things carefully, because it’s a bit like his finger actually, it seems like a small thing, but his middle finger on his right hand is pretty important when you’re a fast bowler.”
With a busy England schedule looming, the ECB and the Royals are expected to make a swift decision over Archer’s availability for the IPL. England’s itinerary includes five Tests against India and an Ashes tour of Australia next winter, as well as the T20 World Cup in India, for which Archer will be an integral part of their plans.
“We need to manage the elbow carefully,” Giles said. “We’ve got a really good medical team. We don’t know what’s going to happen yet in this next couple of months. But our priority is to get both of these things right and get him back on the field.
“Clearly, with what he does, there’s a lot of energy that goes through that area,” Giles added. “We need to try and manage it as conservatively as possible, because this is a really important area of the body for Jof.
“We need to look after him first and foremost, but I’m pretty confident that he’ll be fine, he’ll be back as soon as he can.”
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket