Archer has not played for England since March 2021 and has not played any competitive cricket since July 2021. He spent last year struggling with a long-standing elbow issue which required multiple bouts of surgery and then suffered his back stress fracture while preparing to make his comeback earlier this year.
He has been building up his bowling over the last few months and retained his central contract for 2022-23, with England believed to be optimistic about the prospect of him returning to full fitness in time for one of their tours in early 2023.
Mo Bobat, the ECB’s performance director, said that Archer would play “a meaningful part” in the Lions training camp and suggested he could play “some sort of part” in the three-day practice match against England’s Test team, which starts on November 23 ahead of their tour to Pakistan in December.
“I rang Jofra to talk to him about this training camp,” Bobat said, “and he said to me, ‘this is the first positive selection call I’ve had in a long time.’ We had a bit of a giggle about the fact that all he’s had is difficult injury news recently and he’s missed having someone tell him he’s been picked for something.
“He’s in a good place mentally and is really excited about getting back involved. He’s been bowling at reasonable volumes and intensity. One of the dangers is rushing people back too quickly so what we’re trying to do with Jofra is build that really strong base of bowling over a period of time.”
The Lions are also due to tour Sri Lanka in early 2023 to play competitive red-ball and 50-over games, and Bobat said that the selection process for the Abu Dhabi training camp had been “as individualised as possible”.
“Selection for the camp was conducted in close collaboration with both players and counties,” Bobat said, “and there are a number of players that have been encouraged and supported to take up other opportunities at home and overseas.
“It’s great to be able to recommence Lions developmental experiences and the camp in Dubai and Abu Dhabi represents a fantastic opportunity for a high-potential group of players. The camp also supports the England Men’s team in their preparation for Pakistan, allowing England and Lions players to work closely together in overseas conditions.”
England Lions training squad: Tom Abell, Rehan Ahmed, Josh Bohannon, Jack Carson, Sam Conners, Sam Cook, Matthew Fisher, Haseeb Hameed, Tom Haines, Jack Haynes, Lyndon James, Dan Lawrence, Liam Patterson-White, Matthew Potts, Jamie Smith
Fast bowler rehab: Jofra Archer, Saqib Mahmood, Brydon Carse (November 11-27)
Test Player preparation: James Anderson. Jamie Overton (both November 6-19), Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Will Jacks (all November 11-19)