Mark Wood backing England pace rival Jofra Archer to be fit and firing for the Ashes
Injury-plagued quick Jofra Archer will be fit and ready for a role in this summer's Ashes, according to his main England pace rival Mark Wood.
The pace pair have struggled with serious injury problems over the course of their careers - perhaps unsurprising given their shared ability to hit extreme speeds in excess of 95mph - but are hopeful of taking on Australia in the coming months. Archer last played Test cricket more than two years ago, spending much of the intervening period battling with a longstanding elbow complaint, and reacted angrily to reports this week that he had recently been forced to undergo a minor procedure on the joint.
He took to Twitter to rebuke revelations that came at a "worrying and troubling time for a player" but he was cleared to play his second IPL game of the season on Saturday and remains in England's thoughts for their hotly-anticipated series against Australia, which begins in June.
Wood, who is also in India with Lucknow Super Giants, is also hoping to be involved after being ruled out of the whole of last summer's international programme and expects Archer to be ready too. "I feel for Jofra actually and I can sympathise with him quite a bit there," the Durham quick told Sky Sports News. "You feel like you're just getting back and then you have a little setback and things happen. The curve's never in a straight line is it? You know that on the way back you're going to have bumps along the way. But he's a champion player and I'm sure he'll come back and be a champion again. "I think, reading between the lines, it sounds like it's not a massive setback that he's going to have. He has overcome bigger things and I'm sure that he will be ready for the Ashes. "England aren't going to be silly with things. They're going to know they want him for that series and they're going to be looking ahead. He'll get great treatment there in Mumbai and England will look after him so that, come the Ashes, he will be mentally and physically ready."
Wood was one of the few visiting players who enhanced his reputation during England's humbling 4-0 defeat Down Under in 2021-22 and is sure it will be a much closer contest this time around. "I think Australia are a world-class team and I think it will be a great series," he said. "This (England) team is capable of achieving great things and I wouldn't want to put any marker on it and say we can't do anything, or set the bar at any sort of level, because I think this team can really achieve great things."
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