Jofra Archer has said he will be happy to play in just one Ashes match this summer, adding that any more than that would be a bonus following a lengthy injury lay-off from the Test team.
Archer is just a couple of months into a comeback from well-documented elbow and back problems that kept him out of the international fray for 22 months.
Though he is making encouraging progress, taking 12 wickets across four one-day international appearances since the turn of the year, England and Archer are proceeding with caution.
The fast bowler who bowled the crucial Super Over in England’s 2019 World Cup final win over New Zealand, and who was such an important weapon in that summer’s Ashes series, has not played a Test match in over two years.
When Archer will make his red-ball return is up in the air as, after the final two T20 internationals of England’s current tour of Bangladesh, Archer’s Indian Premier League commitments are set to occupy him up to the end of May. The 2023 Ashes series begins on June 16 at Edgbaston.
“If I can play one game this summer, I’ll be happy,” Archer said. “If I play more than one, that’s just a bonus.
“Coming back and playing cricket for England again means I have already done what I wanted to do.
“I said 18 months ago I was going to be back. Now I’m back. Hopefully I have a long career, so it makes no sense doing too much, too soon.
“We have got so much cricket to play – genuinely, playing for England you never stop. You’re going 11 months a year, pretty much… there’s a lot of cricket and I want to play a lot of cricket as well.”
Archer intends to bowl with some red balls during his IPL stint with Mumbai Indians and added that he would have no qualms over the possibility of his first first-class match in over two years coming in a Test match against Australia.
“I’ve played in the Ashes already, so you know most of the things that comes with it,” Archer said.
“The pressures, the media, the situations are not going to be anything unknown. The only thing unknown at the moment now would be fitness and if you can actually get through a whole Test match.
“I don’t have much expectation except to finish the game. That is the biggest part, to get through 20 [overs] in an innings, maybe 40 or 50 in a game. Obviously I want wickets, but getting overs in is more important.”
Archer claimed 1-27 in three overs in England’s series-opening defeat to Bangladesh on Thursday. Ahead of the second game of the three-match series on Sunday – live on Sky Sports Cricket – he admitted he has had to adapt to the unresponsive surfaces he has been faced with on the tour.
“To be honest, in Bangladesh I’m not going to be charging in trying to bowl 95mph,” he added.
“It sounds a little bit bad, but wickets where you put everything in and you don’t get anything out, I think you’re just putting yourself at risk.
“All the guys here are extremely skilled and we’ve got other avenues other than just extreme pace.”
Watch England’s three-match T20I series in Bangladesh live on Sky Sports and stream on NOW TV.