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South Africa v England ODI: Cricket Preview

He’s been gone so long, but Jofra Archer is finally set to play for England again in the first one-day international (ODI) match against South Africa on Friday.

Archer has not played for England since March 2021, due to injuries involving his elbow and back.

But England’s quickest fast bowler recently returned to competitive cricket in the SA20 tournament and he will strengthen a squad who are firm favourites to win this three-match series as well as the 50-over World Cup.

Archer, 27, returned impressively to action with eight wickets in five appearances for MI Cape Town in the SA20.

England’s white-ball captain, Jos Buttler has been unable to contain his excitement at being able to throw the ball to Archer and hope he can cause the havoc of old.

“It’s great to have Jofra back, fit and playing cricket again,” said Butler.

“I speak on behalf of everyone that he’s such an exciting guy to have back on the field. As an England captain, being able to have him back in your squad and the team is brilliant.”

But England will be missing two of their 2019 World Cup heroes as Ben Stokes has retired from one day international duty and Jonny Bairstow is injured.

Bairstow’s explosive batting will be missed by England, just as his absence was sorely felt by Welsh Fire in Cardiff last year after the Yorkshireman opted to pull out of the tournament in order to rest.

South Africa’s limited overs captain, Temba Bavuma, has admitted that England’s ultra-aggressive and adventurous style has placed them at the forefront of the game at present.

Bavuma described England as “pioneers of the game”.

But he also stressed that the Proteas are looking forward to a fresh start and that they could learn from England.

Bavuma said: “England are probably the pioneers of the game. Guys are taking on the game a lot more and England have obviously done that very well.

“We South Africans have our way of thinking, our way of doing things, but I think there is nothing wrong with us taking a little bit from England, pulling it together and seeing what comes about. It is a bit of a fresh start for us.”

South Africa did not perform well in the 2022 T20 World Cup and are currently not in a top-eight spot for the ODI tournament in the autumn.

They will play five matches, including three against England and two against the Netherlands, in the hope of improving their position.

After their poor performance in Australia, there were questions about Bavuma’s role as captain.

But he has maintained he has the support of his new white-ball coach, Rob Walter, and his recently-appointed Test coach, Shukri Conrad.

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