Archer keeps eyes on next year’s Ashes

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Jofra Archer insists he has no desire to leave Test cricket, even though England are planning a gradual return for the fast bowler.

After an 18-month injury nightmare, Archer is two days away from his return game in Abu Dhabi. He went down nine overs for the England Lions against the senior team on Wednesday and followed that up with a batting cameo on Thursday.

Archer hit two fours and a six as he contributed an undefeated 20 to the Lions 9 for 412. Haseeb Hameed’s 145 provided the backbone of his team’s response to a first-inning 7 for 501.

The 27-year-old’s reappearance in red-ball cricket was an encouraging sight for England fans, many of whom must have feared that his fitness issues, including a long-standing elbow problem and a stress fracture in his back , only end his testing career. early.

But Archer remains optimistic about his future in all three formats.

“It’s weird to feel like that again,” he told reporters at the Tolerance Oval.

“It was really nice, yesterday was a very, very big day. A small day but still a big day. I will say that I am completely back.

“Obviously getting back to the first team is my number one priority, but also getting back there in the safest way possible.

“I’d rather take these last few months very seriously, more seriously than probably the whole rehab because once this phase is done properly it can set me up for the next three to four years injury free.

“I would love to play every game, but I don’t think the physio would allow me to. Our team is strong enough that I can play in every format all year round.”

Archer’s schedule is expected to include a brief appearance for new T20 franchise MI Cape Town in the new year and white ball tours of South Africa and Bangladesh.

But next summer’s Ashes series is a longer-term target.

For now, the Test side will have to do without him. Their bowlers had victories under their belt against the Lions, but with over 900 runs scored in the first two days, it was hard work for both offenses.

Hameed shared a first-wicket stand of 179 runs with Tom Haines (82) when there were a total of 52 limits and nine sixes.

All-around spin bowler Will Jacks and first-choice slow bowler Jack Leach each took two for 69.

James Anderson, preparing for his first Test appearance in Pakistan after 19 years of international cricket, ended former Lancashire teammate Hameed’s 172 ball stint when he trapped him lbw.

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