England's Archer aiming for T20 return with Sussex

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Return from injury - England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been sidelined for nearly a year with an elbow problem (AFP/Alastair Grant) (Alastair Grant)
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England fast bowler Jofra Archer said in an article published on Thursday that he had been in a "dark place" as he revealed plans to make his long-awaited comeback from an elbow injury in Sussex's Twenty20 Blast opener later this month.

The 27-year-old quick missed last year's T20 World Cup and the subsequent Ashes tour of Australia after undergoing a second operation in December on his troublesome right elbow.

Archer, who has not played competitively since July, said he had not thought about putting a date on his return to international duty.

But the 2019 50-over World Cup winner said he wanted to remain an all-format player amid speculation that the persistent elbow problems in his bowling arm would lead him to abandon the rigours of Test cricket in order to become a white-ball specialist.

"I find myself in an unfamiliar place as I build towards the start of the Vitality Blast this month -- from a fitness perspective, I cannot believe how good I feel," Archer said in his Daily Mail column.

"Am I confident things are where I would like them to be ahead of Sussex's opening Twenty20 fixture against Glamorgan on May 26? Absolutely.

"As for Test cricket this summer, I simply haven't thought that far ahead.

"I've not had any prompts from anyone, telling me I'm a one-format player as yet. I still want to play everything."

Archer, who has appeared in 13 Tests, 17 one-day internationals and 12 T20s for England, first suffered a stress reaction in his elbow on the 2019/20 tour of South Africa and missed the last three Tests.

He returned to action in the 2020 home season but suffered further elbow trouble during last year's tour of India and he has not represented England since a T20 in Ahmedabad 14 months ago.

He first had surgery last May to attempt to correct the issue and briefly returned to playing for Sussex, but another setback meant he had a further operation to remedy a stress fracture.

Archer said he was grateful the England and Wales Cricket Board had kept him on a full central contract, despite all the uncertainty over his fitness.

"Having gone into a dark place last summer after the first op, I can see why when people are not on the good side of situations like this, they sometimes have a downward spiral in terms of mental health," he explained.

"It's natural for anyone to worry about the future in that kind of situation, but not having to chase a contract gave me the time to rest properly.

"I couldn't have written my rehab comeback any better."