Jack Leach ruled out of England's Test series against India with knee injury

Sports |  IANS  | Published :

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) England’s left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the rest of the Test series against India due to a left knee injury.

Leach hurt his left knee while fielding on the first day of the Test series opener in Hyderabad, where he collided with the ground after diving to stop a boundary.

On day two of the match, Leach aggravated the injury, which meant he picked a swelling on his injured knee and was unable to bowl long bowling spells, though he did bowl 26 overs in the first innings. But Leach managed to bowl 10 overs in the second innings and took out Shreyas Iyer as England secured a famous 28-run victory at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

He failed to recover in time for the second Test at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam, which England lost by 106 runs.

There was an expectation that Leach would become fit in the ten-day break and be available for England’s third Test against India at Rajkot, starting on February 15. But with the team on a break in Abu Dhabi, it has been decided that Leach won’t take any part for England in 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. England will not be calling up a replacement,” said a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

It is a huge blow for England, as Leach has just returned from a stress fracture in the back which ruled him out of last year’s Ashes at home. Not calling a replacement also means England's spin-bowling options are now in a young trio of leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, left-arm spinner Tom Hartley and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, who made his debut at Visakhapatnam in Leach’s place and is also his team-mate at Somerset.

England also have the services of Joe Root as a part-time off-spinner, and might look at including a second fast-bowler in either Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson or Gus Atkinson to partner James Anderson.

England are scheduled to arrive in India on Monday and start their practice at Rajkot on Tuesday ahead of the third Test, which will also be the 100th appearance for captain Ben Stokes in the format.

England Test squad: Ben Stokes (captain), Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Tom Hartley, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root and Mark Wood

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