Ben Stokes reacts to Jofra Archer's IPL exit as injury setback sparks Ashes fear

Ben Stokes says Jofra Archer has the ‘heart of a lion’ after he returned home early from the Indian Premier League, putting his Ashes hopes in doubt.

Mumbai Indians announced on Tuesday that Archer had left the franchise and returned home, with his England team-mate Chris Jordan named as an injury replacement.

Archer, 28, has been struggling with a long-term elbow problem and played just five of Mumbai’s 11 games in the IPL, taking two wickets.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said Archer would undergo a ‘period of rest and rehabilitation’, just five weeks before the Ashes starts.

Archer marked his long-awaited return to international cricket earlier this year and impressed in white-ball series against South Africa and Bangladesh.

But his latest injury setback may scupper any hopes he had of featuring in this summer’s mouth-watering Ashes series, with England aiming to win back the urn following a heavy 4-0 defeat in the last encounter in Australia.

Reacting to the news that Archer had left the IPL, England Test captain Stokes said: ‘This guy got the heart of a lion. We know what you’ve been through and what you’ve put your body through.’

Archer, who was born in Barbados, burst onto the international scene in 2019 when he helped England win the World Cup and starred in the drawn Ashes series.

But his career has been plagued with injury issues since that memorable summer and it remains to be seen whether his body will allow him to revive his international career.

More to follow…

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