Cricket-Stokes glad Archer putting England commitments first

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FILE PHOTO: First Test - England v West Indies

MUMBAI (Reuters) - England all-rounder Ben Stokes was unsure if his Rajasthan Royals team mate Jofra Archer would be able to play any part in this year's Indian Premier League due to injury and praised the fast bowler for prioritising his national team commitments.

The paceman missed the final test against India with a right elbow injury but returned for the five-match Twenty20 series, claiming a career-best 4-33 in the fourth match in Ahmedabad.

Archer subsequently withdrew from the three one-dayers in India to return home and the English cricket board said that he will miss the start of the April 9-May 30 IPL.

"We're not sure how much of it he'll be able to play a part, if any," Stokes told reporters on Thursday. "One thing that we need to be very mindful of is that Jofra does need to give this elbow a chance to recover."

England have a packed schedule for the home summer with test series against New Zealand and India and white-ball fixtures against Sri Lanka and Pakistan before the Twenty20 World Cup in India and the Ashes against arch-rivals Australia.

"It's great that he's came out and said he's putting his England commitments before everything else," Stokes said of Archer. "It's tough having an injury then getting through a game and then going backwards again.

"I think long term for his career, this is a very sensible option for him to be taking."

Stokes returned to England's 50-over setup for the first time since the side's 2019 World Cup triumph at home during the defeat against India on Tuesday and batted at an unfamiliar number three spot in the absence of the rested Joe Root.

The 29-year-old, England's hero in the World Cup victory, managed to score just one.

"There would be talk, whoever filled the place at number three with Rooty not being here," Stokes said ahead of Friday's second ODI. "People keep talking and I'll just go out and try to do what I've been asked to do.

"But I did actually message Rooty and asked him about his mind-set at three, and he was pretty clear to me in saying 'just play the way you play'.

"Just because he plays a certain way doesn't mean I have to do it like that."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Toby Davis)