"Frustrating" to not play regularly, but Jack Leach accepts England's selection of all-seam attack

Mayank Kumar

Mayank Kumar

Author| Aug 1, 8:35 AM

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach was one of England’s most prominent positives among very far and few positives from the tours of Sri Lanka and England earlier this year. His guile, and control, over line and length almost made up for the shortcomings in other spinners and pace departments.

After the end of the series against India, it appeared as if Jack Leach has strengthened his position as the number one spin bowler in the England Test side. 

Situations have not changed a lot for both Leach and England, who are yet to come to terms with the benefits of adding one spinner in the playing XI irrespective of conditions.

Leach is yet to play a Test match after the last Test against India as Joe Root and Chris Silverwood did not cinder his left-arm spin worthy of a place in the playing XI against New Zealand. On a whole as well, England season so far has been dominated by white-ball series and Leach has not been in a groove.

Now, Leach has expressed his “frustration” after sitting out against New Zealand as he believes that the challenges of a stop-start career have not stopped yet in his career.

However, he conceded the understating and logic on the part of the team management of not selecting him to play the Kiwis as they believed early-season pitches will have a lot to offer to the pacers than a finger spinner.

"I think I said to Spoons it was frustrating because I want to be playing as many games as possible at that level. I guess the thing I've struggled with over the past couple of years has been that momentum of playing games and feeling like you're learning from those experiences. You can do as much as you want in the nets, but you want to put that into a game situation. There are things you don't get in the nets that you only get in games."

"That was the frustrating thing. I understood it from a team point of view, in terms of the balance of the team. If it had been three seamers and a spinner, that would have been the first time I'd have played in that balance of the team. Even at Somerset, we're playing with four-seamers, and even a batter who bowls seam, Tom Abell, or Tom Lammonby, who bowls left-arm seam. My experience hasn't been in that balance of team, so having not done that before, it would have been a huge challenge which I'd have loved to do, but I understand why they want four-seamers, especially in England.

Leach also threw support behind Ben Stokes for showing “bravery and courage” by putting his mental wellbeing ahead of the game. He rated Stokes “focal point” and conceded that England will dearly miss him in the series against India.

"All the lads are behind Ben and supporting him where we can. He has shown courage and bravery to prioritise his mental health. He is a focal part of our team and we will miss him. His priority is to take some time out from the game to get better. We can't wait to welcome him back in the near future and winning games of cricket for England,” Leach said.

Jack Leach should come into the England playing XI as pitches in August would have a fair bit of wear and tear and the team management would be eager to see how bowls in England. 

Leach troubled Indian right-handers, especially Cheteshwar Puajra, in the Test series earlier this year and Joe Root will hope the story will not change its course. However, he was taken to the cleaners by Rishabh Pant and the duel between the two augurs well for the series.

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