Earlier this week it was confirmed that Joffra Archer would miss the tour to Sri Lanka and the 2020 IPL season due to a stress fracture that he suffered in the South Africa tour.
Many, myself included thought he'd been over-bowled by Joe Root, but the England captain has defended the use of Archer over the summer and winter tour saying:
"I wouldn't say he's been over-bowled,"
"You look at the amount of cricket he's played before he played for England, he's played a huge amount, and he came into international cricket and took the world by storm,"
"He's had a phenomenal start on the international stage and should be extremely proud of what he has achieved already in his short career.
"You just look at the international schedule and it's full on if you're playing all three formats. Chuck in an IPL, Big Bash… that's a lot of mental fatigue as well as physical."
"One of the pleasing things is we are actually really clear on what the injury is now," added Root
"We're all gutted for him missing out, but it will be good for him to have a mental break to get some time away from the game, to get refreshed."
I understand what Root is saying here. Archer is a 3 format player with both domestic and international commitments. He hasn't experienced a lot of injuries up to this point, so maybe the added stress of international cricket on his body resulted in the stress fracture that will keep him out until the summer.
We'll never really know what caused the injury, but I do think Root is still leaning how best to utilise his newest toy. Archer's pace was down at times towards the end of the summer and into the winter, bowling more in the mid to high eighties than the low nineties that we would expect.
At times Root bowled him for 6-8 over spells. For any bowler, it's hard to maintain pace when bowling that kind of spell. I'd love to see Archer brought in for 4 over spells at a time, let him really let loose and then give his body plenty of time to recover.