Anderson ‘gutted’ for Archer | Bairstow has sympathy for Foakes

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James Anderson is hopeful Jofra Archer will be able to recover from his latest injury setback after the England paceman was sidelined for the entire summer.

Surgery on a persistent stress fracture in his right elbow means Archer, who has not played Test cricket since February 2021, will miss the match against Ireland and the Ashes.

It is the latest blow for the 28-year-old and Anderson, who continues to star at the highest level aged 40 after sacrificing his white-ball career to concentrate on Tests, expressed sympathy for both Archer and fellow injured bowler Olly Stone.

“I’m gutted for both of those guys, Jofra in particular because he’s had a tough few years with that elbow,” Anderson told Sky Sports News.

“It just keeps coming back and niggling at him, so I’m absolutely gutted for him. I know how hard he has worked to try to get back fit and I hope it’s not too bad and he can get back as soon as possible.

“When you see someone struggle with the same sort of injuries, I think it’s only sensible to try to manage your workload and whether that’s playing one format or two then that’s probably a sensible thing to do. That’s something he’ll have to work out with the coaches going forward.”

Anderson has an injury concern of his own ahead of the clash with Ireland at Lord’s, picking up a minor groin strain in Lancashire’s recent County Championship match against Somerset.

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Sir Alastair Cook backs England to win The Ashes providing their bowlers can stay fit

England’s leading wicket-taker in Test history is aiming to be involved against Ireland, but his main focus is on ensuring he is fully fit to face Australia later in June.

“I’ll be trying to get fit for the Ireland Test, but whether I play in that is another question,” Anderson said.

“We know what the important series is this year. No disrespect to Ireland, we want to have as many players as possible fit for that first Ashes Test, so hopefully I will be.”

Bairstow has sympathy for Foakes

Bairstow admits he has some sympathy for Ben Foakes after the wicketkeeper made way for the Yorkshireman’s return to the England squad ahead of the opening Test of the summer.

Bairstow was one of the stars of England’s home Test summer last year but missed the winter series in Pakistan and New Zealand after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle in a golfing accident. Having recovered, he is now back in the 15-player squad for the match against Ireland starting on Thursday June 1, live on Sky Sports.

Foakes impressed with both the gloves and bat during those tours as England swept Pakistan 3-0 and drew the series in New Zealand 1-1, but the 33-year-old’s return and the emergence of Harry Brook in the middle order have left the Surrey ‘keeper out of the picture.

“Absolutely, and that’s the nature of sport,” Bairstow, who has had spells out of the England team during his career too, told Sky Sports News when asked if he sympathised with Foakes after he was not named in the squad.

“He’s been an integral part of the last 12 months and how he’s gone about it.

Bairstow and Foakes in Test cricket

Jonny Bairstow Ben Foakes
Tests played 89 20
Batting average 37.04 32.20
Strike rate 57.58 49.41
Total runs scored 5,482 934
Centuries 12 2
Half-centuries 23 4
Catches as wicketkeeper 180 57
Stumpings 13 6

“It’s something which is never easy and I’ve been on the end of it, so absolutely I’ve got some sympathies for Ben. I’ve no doubts he’ll be back in the fold at some point soon.

“I’ve always said as long as I’m in the frame to be in the side, then I just want to be out there representing my country…whether it’s the position I’ve been batting in or keeping wicket. That’s the decision that has been made and I’ll be out there doing my best.”

Bairstow’s injury meant he missed England’s T20 World Cup triumph in Australia last October too, but he was proud of what the team achieved in both red and white-ball cricket in his absence.

The 33-year-old has been getting himself back into action with Yorkshire in both their second XI and the LV= County Championship and is now looking forward to a summer which sees England aim to regain the Ashes from old rivals Australia following the Ireland match.

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Michael Atherton has backed the decision to include Jonny Bairstow in England’s Test squad to face Ireland at the expense of Ben Foakes

“You’re sat on your sofa with your leg in a cast and some swelling so it’s never easy,” Bairstow said, reflecting on his winter at home.

“But to see the boys win the T20 World Cup in Australia and the Test side be so successful in Pakistan and New Zealand was great to watch – and it was a joy to watch.

“It’s been great to be back out there with Yorkshire and get matches in the Champo under my belt. Especially after the tough winter, it’s great to be back out and I’m really enjoying my cricket.”

Watch every match from the men’s and women’s Ashes live on Sky Sports. You can also follow videos and over-by-over text commentary across Sky Sports’ digital platforms. Live coverage of the first Test is live from June 16-20 on Sky Sports Cricket.

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