Sussex head coach Paul Farbrace has revealed plans for the seamer, who returned to England action during the ODI tour of South Africa earlier this year after a 17-month lay-off with back and elbow problems.
The quick came through that series and the subsequent tour to Bangladesh unscathed and has now joined up with Mumbai Indians ahead of the new IPL season, which starts tomorrow.
England’s Test summer starts against Ireland on June 1 and while Archer could be back for that match, depending on Mumbai’s progress, Farbrace is not expecting the 27-year-old to turn out for Sussex in the County Championship before the Ashes begin on June 16.
“I think all things being equal, he will go straight into the Ashes off the back of the IPL,” Farbrace told BBC Radio Sussex. “I think their plan is that between IPL games he’ll then bowl some longer spells to get his overs up and make sure that he is match-ready.
“That’s the nature of international franchise cricket these days. I know there’ll be a lot of people saying ‘he should play at least two four-day games to be ready for a Test match’, but the preparation and the work that the medical teams do around these players is exceptional.”
Archer has not played a Test match for England since the away series in India at the start of 2021 and his last first-class action came for Sussex against Kent in May of the same year, though he did feature in a red-ball warm-up game for the Lions against the Test side in the UAE last year.
Archer’s workload will be managed throughout the Test summer and, even if fit and available, there is no guarantee he will be selected for the Ashes opener, given the likes of James Anderson, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad have all excelled in the Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum era.
“England are not daft,” Farbrace added. “They know that keeping the likes of Jofra fit for the Ashes will be really important to win the Ashes.
“They are saying ‘how can we make sure that we get Jofra prepared to play the Ashes and be the best version he can be?’ They’ve got a lot of good people around that squad who we need to trust and allow them to do their job.
“From a Sussex point of view we should be saying that he needs to play at least four Championship games otherwise he’s not going to be ready – but that’s not how it works.
“He is a centrally contracted player and we want him to be at this club for many years to come and we want him to be a big part of the future.”