- Feb 29, 2024
- Jul 22, 2022
England’s spin hopes for the remaining Test matches against India have suffered a blow with the news that Jack Leach has been ruled out of the series due to a left knee injury. The 32-year-old spinner sustained the injury during the first Test in Hyderabad, where he collided with the ground while diving to save a boundary on the opening day. Despite playing through the pain, the injury worsened on the second morning, forcing him to leave the field and subsequently miss the second game.
According to the England and Wales Cricket Board, Leach’s condition has not improved which confirms the huge extent of the damage, necessitating his withdrawal from the remaining three Tests. “He will fly home from Abu Dhabi in the next 24 hours, where the England team have been staying ahead of the third Test in Rajkot, which starts on Thursday. Leach will work closely with the England and Somerset medical teams in respect of his rehabilitation,” the statement read.
The news comes as a significant setback for England as they are now left with three inexperienced spinners- Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir. The three bowlers have a total experience of 6 Test matches which could prove detrimental for the visitors. The fact that the ECB has confirmed that no replacement will be named for Leach adds to the intrigue and surprise. The decision to not name a replacement suggests that the team management might be confident in the remaining bowlers’ ability to handle the Indian batting line-up. However, Leach’s absence leaves a significant void in terms of experience and variety, particularly on spin-friendly pitches expected in the upcoming Tests.
The series currently hangs in the balance at 1-1, with India bouncing back emphatically in Visakhapatnam after their drubbing in the first Test at Hyderabad. The Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot is set to witness another intense battle as both teams vie for the upper hand. While India will be riding the momentum gained from their dominant win, England will be determined to bounce back and reclaim the lead.