Jofra Archer hopes for 'repeat of 2019' as he prepares for England ODI comeback

Fast bowler expected to play in three-match series against South Africa - his first appearance in two years

England quick Jofra Archer during a training session in Bloemfontein. Getty
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England will be keeping their fingers crossed as fast bowler Jofra Archer prepares for a long-awaited comeback during the three-match ODI series in South Africa that begins on Friday.

The 2019 World Cup winner said he is "about 80 per cent" fit ahead of his long-awaited England return but the fast bowler is determined to get himself back in top shape ahead of the World Cup in India later this year.

Archer spearheaded England's 50-overs World Cup success at home in 2019, bowling the super over that helped them lift the trophy, and took 22 wickets in the Ashes series against Australia.

However, elbow and back injuries disrupted his career for two years and the 27-year-old only made his competitive return earlier this month in South Africa's new Twenty20 league, picking up eight wickets in five matches.

And now, Archer is set to make his first England appearance since March 2021 in the ODI series against the Proteas which starts in Bloemfontein.

With an Ashes series and World Cup looming this year, the right-arm quick is keen to pick up where he left off.

"Hopefully it can be a repeat of 2019," Archer said. "We've got a 50-over World Cup again and an Ashes in the same year so more of the same, please.

"I need to spend the next two, three, four months fine-tuning the body and making myself a bit more resilient. Let me sort that out first and then I can look forward to holding the red ball in my hand again.

"I know whenever I'm fully fit, I don't think there's much that can stop me, it's just a matter of when that was going to be."

Red and white-ball captains Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler have attempted to put Archer's mind at ease after such a long time away from the team.

"[Ben] said there is no expectation, so did Jos," Archer said. "It's nice to hear it, but people will have expectations anyway. Hopefully I can do a half decent job to help the team."

Meanwhile, South Africa go into the one-day series against England needing a strong performance to ensure automatic qualification for the 50-over World Cup later this year.

The three-match series is part of the World Cup Super League, from which the top eight teams will qualify for the World Cup in India in October and November.

South Africa need to win at least three of their remaining five fixtures - they also have to play two matches against the Netherlands - to climb above West Indies, who are currently in eighth place after completing their programme.

Updated: January 26, 2023, 1:04 PM