In the opening One-Day International against South Africa on Friday in Mangaung Oval, Bloemfontein, Jofra Archer will make his long-awaited comeback for England.
Since his last appearance for England in March 2021, Archer has been working to recover from lower back and elbow problems. He played in the SA20 earlier this month and will now take the field in the first of three ODIs on Friday against the Proteas.
England’s white-ball skipper Jos Buttler said it’s “great” to deploy the fast bowler ahead of the opening game.
“It’s great to have Jofra back, fit and playing cricket again. I speak on behalf of everyone that he’s such an exciting guy to have back on the field. As an England captain, having him back in your squad and the team is brilliant. He’s only just coming back to competitive cricket, this will be his first international game in a long time,” Buttler said as quoted by Sky Sports.
Speaking about the pacer recovering fully and returning to 100 per cent fitness he said that it would take Archer time before he returns to full fitness.
“It would be naive to think it wouldn’t take him a little bit of time to get up to 100 per cent. It’s just fantastic to see him fit, back playing again, and we know he’s just going to get better and better as time goes on,” he added.
The contest is expected to be a thrilling encounter as both teams have a great track record at the venue.
Since 2005, South Africa has triumphed in 16 of the previous 24 ODIs played at Bloemfontein, including eight of the last nine.
Amazingly, though, England has won every game it has played at the venue. Their lone victory, a 6-1 whitewash in 1996, a nine-wicket victory in 2000, and a thrilling tie in Kevin Pietersen’s infamous return to South Africa in 2005 all occurred at Bloemfontein.