The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Root rejects claims Archer has been overworked

- From Richard Gibson IN JOHANNESBU­RG

JOE ROOT insists Jofra Archer has not been over-burdened during his opening nine months as an internatio­nal fast bowler.

However, there was also an acceptance that England must start managing the workload of one of their primary match winners more efficientl­y when he returns to toplevel action this coming summer.

At the end of a week in which 24-year-old Archer was ruled out until May with a stress fracture of the elbow, Test captain Root said: ‘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, really.

‘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.’

Archer first felt discomfort in his elbow during the World Cup and it re-surfaced in both the Test series in New Zealand, where he was asked to send down a marathon 42 overs in an innings, and here in South Africa, although initial scans following the first Test defeat — in which he claimed a third fivewicket haul in seven appearance­s — failed to locate any damage.

‘I think it will be good for him to have a mental break to get some time away from the game, to get refreshed,’ said Root. ‘We’ve just got to make sure we build him up very well from the start of the summer and make sure he’s absolutely ready to go. We need to really manage him efficientl­y.’

Root has enjoyed playing all three formats himself but admits has days as a T20 England player could be numbered. ‘I think being honest, looking at the squad there is at the minute and the players that are performing around the world in

T20 competitio­ns, I’m probably not in the best XI,’ he said.

England must beat South Africa today to extend their unbeaten run in bilateral one-day series to 12. But the prospects of a full game are slim given the heavy rain forecast.

lToday: Third One-Day Internatio­nal — South Africa v England in Johannesbu­rg. 8am start. LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket

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