The England seamer will play no part in the Test series against India, the T20 World Cup or the Ashes
Archer, the England fast bowler, was forced home from the tour of India at the start of the year and subsequently forced to pull out of the IPL due to pain in the elbow. He underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment from the elbow in May.
After returning to bowling with his county side, Sussex, in recent weeks he felt increasing discomfort and was sent for further scans. These revealed he had suffered a recurrence of the stress fracture that first became apparent in South Africa at the start of 2020. The ECB insists that the operation and stress fracture are not connected.
As a result, the ECB has announced he will play no part in the LV= Insurance Test series against India, the T20 World Cup or the Ashes.
Given that he has only played six Tests, three ODIs and 11 T20Is since he was first troubled by the problem, the news is bound to raise question marks about Archer’s future career. While he is, at 26, young enough to come again, it remains to be seen if he will opt to limit himself to a career in white-ball cricket in a bid to alleviate further such issues.
The news is a crushing blow to England’s Ashes hopes. They had aimed to utilise an attack including Archer, Mark Wood and Ollie Stone in Australia with hope of exploiting the pace and bounce in the surfaces. Stone, too, is currently recovering from a stress fracture of the lower back.
Whatever occurs in Archer’s future, his place in England’s cricketing history is assured. As the man who led their attack throughout the 2019 World Cup – including bowling the Super Over in the final – he played a huge part in their success. He produced several spells in the Ashes series that followed – notably at Lord’s – which were as quick as anything produced by an England bowler in many, many years.
At that stage, it seemed Archer and England were at the start of an exciting journey. This news will raise concerns over how much more there is to come from him.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo