England speedster Jofra Archer is set to return to competitive cricket on Thursday in a County Championship match after being out of action for more than one-and-half months due to injury.

Archer, whose last appearance was the fifth T20I between India and England on March 20, has been struggling with a freak hand injury and later underwent surgery to remove a glass fragment from a tendon on his right hand after an attempt to clean his fish tank went wrong.

The 26-year-pacer had sustained the injury at his home in January and the surgery was conducted while he was still undergoing treatment for a long-term elbow injury. Archer, who had pulled out of the now-suspended IPL, has been named in Sussex’s 13-man squad which will face Kent on Thursday.

“Any team in world cricket would be excited to name Jof (Archer) in their squad for a game. Everybody is aware of his talents,” Sussex head coach Ian Salisbury said in a statement posted on the club’s website. This would be Archer’s first appearance in the County Championship since September 2018 and he will continue his return to fitness by playing for Sussex in the County Championship this week.

“Are we going to force him to come back when he’s actually England’s player? Say he gets an injury and he can’t play in the Test matches this summer – I wouldn’t be very popular.” If selected in the playing XI, this would be Archer’s last chance to prove his fitness ahead of England’s Test series against New Zealand, which starts on June 2 at Lord’s.