Ofra Archer says he’s functioning at “around 80 per cent” of his best ahead of his long-awaited return to England this week and warned: “When I’m in top form, nothing can stop me”.
Archer hasn’t played for England since March 2021 due to a series of injury problems.
On Wednesday, however, the speedy joined a small group of England team-mates at Bloemfontein ahead of the start of their three-game ODI series against South Africa on Friday.
Archer’s comeback accelerated during a Lions training camp in the United Arab Emirates before Christmas and the 27-year-old then made his return to competition in South Africa’s new T20 franchise tournament, SA20, earlier this month.
“It looked fantastic but inside I’m still a bit stiff and trying to get some of the rust off,” Archer said of his strong performance in the SA20, where he won eight wickets in five games for MI Cape Town. and regularly exceeded speeds of 90 mph. “I would probably say I’m about 80 per cent. It’s just a bit of tuning now, just more discipline than real cricket stuff.”
Archer’s initial injury absence was due to a persistent elbow problem which required surgery twice, before an attempt to return in time for the summer at home last year was scrapped by a back stress fracture in May.
When asked if he ever doubted he would make a full comeback, however, Archer replied, “Not really.
“I know whenever I’m in top form I don’t think there’s much that can stop me, it’s just a matter of when.
“I’m not going to be upset or bitter about the timing. I think everything happens for a reason and I guess there’s a reason I’m here in South Africa right now.
“There is no reason to look back. I’ve had my time and I’m here now. This is the most important thing. To be honest, I had the best time being injured, I had stuff to go on – my friends, my family, the gym. I’m not upset at all, I don’t think I lost any days too when I was injured. I am happy.”