Archer to make England return in first T20I vs Pakistan

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Archer to make England return in first T20I vs Pakistan

Jofra Archer will make his long-awaited return to international cricket on Wednesday, with England captain Jos Buttler confirming the fast bowler will play in the first T20 international against Pakistan at Headingley.

Archer has not played international cricket since March 2023 due to a stress fracture in his back but featured for Sussex’s second XI recently and is in the squad for England’s T20 World Cup title defence in the Caribbean and USA next month.

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Archer made an impressive return to action for Sussex claiming a wicket in six overs during Kent’s second innings

Asked if Archer would play in the first T20I of England’s four-match series against Pakistan – live on Sky Sports Cricket from 6pm, Wednesday (first ball 6.30pm) – Buttler replied: “Yes.

“I think we just have to manage him through and see how it goes but he’s fully fit now which is really exciting.”

Wednesday 22nd May 6:00pm

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Buttler added that both Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood are not yet fit to feature and won’t play in the opening match of the series against Pakistan.

England’s squad for T20 World Cup and Pakistan series

Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood

Speaking further on Archer’s return, Buttler said: “He has a big smile on his face. It’s great to see him back fit and bowling fast – and just having him back around the group. I know how much he has missed that.

“We’ve got to temper expectations, he’s been out of international cricket for a long time and you can never quite replicate that, but we all know what a superstar he has been.

“Any player of Jofra’s calibre is a huge asset to any team, so absolutely it makes us a better side and gives us a better and gives us a better chance of winning games.

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Sam Curran insists it is exciting to have Archer back in the England setup ahead of the T20 World Cup

“But we’re not expecting too much from him too soon. It’s important that he just enjoys being back and playing cricket. As England captain, and as a fan, people want to see Jofra playing cricket which is going to be great.”

Buttler: No extra pressure after 50-over World Cup failure

As preparations ramp up ahead of the T20 World Cup in June with the Pakistan series, Buttler said there’s no extra pressure on his side despite a dismal defence of their 50-over World Cup crown in India last year.

England, winners on home soil in 2019, finished seventh in the 10-team standings, winning only three of their nine matches, with two of those coming in dead rubbers once already eliminated.

The defence of their T20 World Cup title claimed in Australia two years ago opens with a match against Scotland in Barbados on Tuesday, June 4.

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Broadcaster and commentator, Andrew Leonard tells the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast he thinks England could end up in trouble if they underestimate their associate member opponents at the T20 World Cup.

Their other Group B fixtures see them take on old rivals Australia (June 8) in Barbados, followed by heading to Antigua to face associate nations Oman (June 13) and Namibia (June 15). The top two teams in the group advance to the Super Eights.

“There’s no extra pressure,” Buttler said on Tuesday. “Our pride was obviously dented a lot in that tournament. It was a really disappointing competition but life moves on.

“It’s a chapter in the book and there’s lessons you learn from that. But now we’re presented with a new opportunity, a different format, and we’re really excited to go to the West Indies in a World Cup, as defending champions again, and give a better account of ourselves.”

England vs Pakistan T20I series fixtures

May 22: Headingley, 6.30pm.

May 25: Edgbaston, 2.30pm.

May 28: Sophia Gardens, 6.30pm.

May 30: The Kia Oval, 6.30pm.

Watch all four matches of England’s men’s T20I series against Pakistan, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA live on Sky Sports Cricket. Also stream with NOW.

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