Fast bowler Jofra Archer was Tuesday ruled out of the Ashes with a stress fracture to his right elbow as England announced their Test squad to face Ireland next month.
The 28-year-old Sussex quick, who was recently in action in the Indian Premier League, will not play again “for the rest of the summer”, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.
“Recent scans revealed he has sustained a recurrence of a stress fracture to his right elbow,” the ECB said.
England play Ireland in a one-off Test starting at Lord’s on 1 June, which will be their final preparation for the Ashes series against Australia, beginning later in the month.
Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow is back with England for the first time since last August after recovering from breaking his left leg and dislocating his ankle during a round of golf.
Bairstow, whose return comes at the expense of fellow wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, smashed six centuries last year before suffering his freak injury.
James Anderson, 40, the most successful fast bowler in Test history with 685 wickets, was named in the 15-man squad despite suffering a groin injury while playing for Lancashire last week.
Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes returns while Durham fast bowler Mark Wood is back after taking a break from the tour of New Zealand.
Surrey batsman Ollie Pope has been officially confirmed as England’s vice-captain with immediate effect.
Paceman Archer, who has not played a Test since February 2021, has been dogged by elbow and back injuries in recent years – he has only played 13 Tests in total.
ECB managing director for England men’s cricket Rob Key said it had been a frustrating and upsetting period for Archer, whom he described as “probably the most exciting bowler in world cricket”.
“He was making good progress until a recurrence of the elbow injury, which kept him out for an extended period previously,” he said.
“I’m hoping that at some point Jofra (has) a bit of luck to be honest. The poor lad was pretty distraught about what’s happened.
“You just hope that that luck turns for him at some point as I’m sure it will.”
Key said it was too soon to rule the bowler out of the 50-over World Cup, which takes place in India later this year, with England defending their title.
“Fingers crossed that he is (ready),” he said. “I can’t tell you now. I don’t think anyone can tell you now. It’s a pretty unique situation this, I think. It baffles quite a few people.”
Key said Anderson had a “pretty mild groin strain” and the veteran seamer was not concerned ahead of England’s programme of international matches.
Key said it had been a “seriously tough decision” to leave Foakes out of the squad to accommodate the returning Bairstow, who will take the gloves.
Foakes has been a regular for England during their impressive run of 10 wins from their past 12 Tests under the captaincy of Stokes.
“He has been excellent for England in the last year, but Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in the world whose performances last summer epitomised what we are about,” Key said.
England begin their quest to wrest the Ashes back at Edgbaston on June 16, with matches to follow at Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford and the Oval.
England squad: Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood