England pacer Jofra Archer has made an early statement in his return from 18 months on the sidelines, turning heads during his comeback match in Abu Dhabi.
Archer’s red-ball career has been derailed over the last year-and-a-half, with several injuries threatening to hold him back from his scintillating best.
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The 27-year-old took to the field for England Lions this week, bowling nine overs on Wednesday before a stint with the bat on Thursday.
One of his searing deliveries proved hard enough to crack England opener Zak Crawley on the helmet.
“There’s a speed gun up there and they said he was bowling 90 (mph, 145kph) on the gun, which they say you can add 3mph to that so he’s bowling good pace,” Crawley said at the end of the day’s play.
“He‘ll be a bit match rusty and that’s to be expected as anyone would be, but the fitness is there for sure.
“He‘s bowling quick and he looks in good nick physically.”
Archer’s appearance for the Lions is part of a phased return plan, which looks set to include an appearance for MI Cape Town in the T20 format, as well as white-ball tours of South Africa and Bangladesh.
He’ll be hoping to be fit to play in next year’s Ashes series after missing the entirety of the 2021-22 series.
Archer’s return would send shivers down the spine of Australia’s batting order, with his performances in 2019 helping the side draw the Ashes series, while also proving pivotal in England’s World Cup triumph.
Originally published as England paceman Jofra Archer issues scary Ashes warning after 18-month hiatus