Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering stress a fracture to his back in the latest injury blow to hit the England fast-bowler.
The 27-year-old was closing in on a return to action and hoping to play for his English county side Sussex in the Vitality Blast T20 competition this month.
But Archer, who has been sidelined for over a year by a persistent elbow problem that has required two operations, has sustained another injury that must put more question marks over his body's ability to cope with the rigours of international cricket.
“After being diagnosed with a stress fracture to the lower back, England and Sussex seamer Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the rest of the season,” the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement.
“No time frame has been set for his return. A management plan will be determined following further specialist opinion over the coming days.”
He is the third England bowler to be diagnosed with a stress fracture in the past week, with Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood and Yorkshire’s Matthew Fisher both receiving similar news.
Archer hasn't played international cricket since March 2021 or any competitive cricket since May of that year, when he underwent the first operation. The second surgery was in December, after which the Barbados-born paceman said he felt much more confident of a return to action.
He admitted earlier this month that he had feared he might not play again due to the injury but added that he “couldn’t have written my rehab comeback any better”.
“Now, I just need some game time to be able to put my trust in the elbow,” the 2019 World Cup winner added. “I’ve not trusted it supporting me for a long period, so it’s going to take a little bit of work to do so and bowl at full tilt.”
England return to action next month when world Test champions New Zealand begin a three-match tour at Lord's on June 2, followed by matches at Trent Bridge and Headingley.
The team will be led by new Test captain Ben Stokes and recently-appointed red-ball coach Brendon McCullum. England have won only one of their last 17 tests.