Pace bowler Jofra Archer will miss the rest of the season due to a stress fracture of his back, England cricket chiefs announced on Thursday.
The 27-year-old, who has not played competitively since last July, was absent for the T20 World Cup and missed the subsequent Ashes tour of Australia with an elbow injury.
“After being diagnosed with a stress fracture to the lower back, England and Sussex seamer Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the rest of the season,” the England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement.
“No timeframe has been set for his return. A management plan will be determined following further specialist opinion over the coming days.”
The Barbados-born Archer, who has appeared in 13 Tests, 17 one-day internationals and 12 T20s for England, had a second elbow operation in December to address a stress fracture.
Thursday’s announcement will lead to fresh debate over whether Archer can bowl again at the express pace that makes him such a dangerous weapon.
He burst onto the international stage by leading England’s attack during their 2019 World Cup triumph on home soil and he also starred in the subsequent drawn Ashes series against Australia.
Archer, who is also a leading cricketer on the Twenty20 global franchise circuit, earlier this month wrote in his Daily Mail column he had been in a “dark place last summer” while he was sidelined with his elbow injury.
“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.”
England start a busy home international season with a three-match Test series against New Zealand on June 2.