Jofra Archer 'happy to go back in the bubble' after confirming Test fitness bid is on track

Jofra Archer claimed the scalp of Zak Crawley on his return to Sussex action Getty Images

Jofra Archer demonstrated that his return to fitness is firmly on track following a fiery performance for Sussex on the opening day of their LV= County Championship clash with Kent at Hove, and confirmed he would be ready to step back into the England bubble if selected for the two-Test series against New Zealand, at Lord's and Edgbaston next month.

Archer claimed 2 for 29 in 13 well-grooved overs, with both of his scalps coming in his opening four-over spell, including his England team-mate Zak Crawley, who was caught behind for 7. Kent were rolled aside for 145 inside 55 overs, with Archer's fellow England prospect, Ollie Robinson, also starring with 3 for 29 in 18 overs.

It was Archer's first Championship appearance for Sussex since September 2018, and potentially his last of the season too, given that the county has no fixture in next week's round of games - the last that England's Test players will be able to play ahead of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's, beginning on June 2.

But, after a low-key outing for Sussex's second XI against Surrey last week, he assuaged many concerns about his recovery from both a long-term elbow injury, and an operation to remove a shard of glass from the middle finger of his right hand.

"It's great to play again with the [Sussex] lads who I've played with nearly all of my career," Archer told the ECB Reporters' Network afterwards.

"My fitness is fine, I thought I bowled okay. I played in the second team last week and it's good to get some confidence and I felt fine. I bowled in short spells for protection in case we had a long day but it was overcast, which helped a bit. There was a bit of management, but it all worked out.

"With the [elbow] injury I have tried not to get too frustrated," he added. "If I'm fit, I guess I will play in the Test series and I feel alright. I would ideally have another game next week but we're off and then we play Northamptonshire. I don't know what the plan is but I'd be happy to play again before the Test series. I'd be happy to go into the bubble again."

Archer is sure to be joined in the bubble by Crawley, who made a career-best 267 against Pakistan in last season's England campaign, but he's looking forward to heading to Lord's with the bragging rights after getting the better of their short-lived duel.

"I bowl to Zak Crawley in the [England] nets and I have done that quite a bit," Archer said. "Obviously, you're never out in the nets so it was good to get him out here, with umpires."

It remains to be seen whether Robinson, too, has done enough to earn a Test debut, but after claiming 28 wickets at 13.35 - and with England indicating that they will offer chances to some new faces - the signs are so far promising.

"Hopefully Ollie Robinson will get his [England] chance this summer," Archer said. "We all know what he can do, he's a talented bowler and his stats prove that."