England call up Leach to replace injured Crane


Mason Crane has been ruled out of England’s Test series against New Zealand due to injury with Somerset’s Jack Leach called up as his replacement.

Leg-spinner Crane, who made his Test debut in the Ashes earlier this year, has suffered a stress fracture to his lower back and was also ruled out for the start of the county season with Hampshire.

The 21-year-old felt some discomfort a training on Thursday and was sent for two scans when the extent of the injury was known.

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England’s bowling coach, Chris Silverwood, said: “The scan results have shown he has a partial stress fracture of the back, we’ve caught it relatively early so unfortunately, he’s going home.

“Like anybody would be, he’s a little bit upset he’s going home but that’s life and part and parcel of professional sport.”

The 26-year-old Leach, a left-arm spinner, has just finished a tour to the West Indies with the England Lions where he took 18 wickets in the three four-day matches.

Leach will only arrive in New Zealand next week and it is unlikely that he will be considered for the first Test, that starts on 22 March in Auckland, with Moeen Ali still England’s preferred slow-bowler.

The second and final Test of the series will be played in Christchurch from 30 March.