The spinners England could turn to after losing injured Jack Leach for Ashes
England find themselves without a first-choice spinner just days away from the start of the Ashes, after Jack Leach was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the lower back.
Here, the PA news agency looks at the runners and riders to step into the Somerset man’s shoes.
Became England’s youngest ever Test debutant when he was thrust into the spotlight against Pakistan in December. Aged just 18 and 126 days when he took the field in Karachi, he claimed five for 48 in the second innings and two more in the first. Has impressed more with the bat than the ball for Leicestershire in this season’s LV= Insurance County Championship, with only six wickets in as many games at an average of 54.16.
A long shot, but one for the romantics. Moeen, 35, has bundles of experience in England whites, with 195 Test wickets and plenty of memorable moments. Currently retired from red-ball cricket, which appears a reasonable stumbling block, but Brendon McCullum was close to tempting him back in Pakistan last winter and might be tempted to reopen discussions over one last mission.
Another debutant in Pakistan, the Surrey man is still known best for his aggressive batting and top-order exploits against the white ball. Yet, he will be an attractive option for McCullum and Ben Stokes given his attacking approach to the game. His off-breaks have impressed head coach Gareth Batty, himself a former England spinner, and he would be an explosive lower-order option with the bat.
Knows the ropes with 14 Test caps and 36 wickets, and made his name as Leach’s understudy at Taunton. Lost confidence during his last stint in the international set-up and there is a feeling his game has plateaued somewhat since moving to Yorkshire. Nine wickets in four Division Two outings this term.
A dependable character with more than 15 years of first-class experience. A regular England squad man across formats, but has just three Test appearances to his name. By no means a mystery spinner, but perhaps the closest like-for-like replacement for Leach. A solid left-armer who can hold an end and bowl lengthy spells, he could provide handy respite for the seam attack. An under-rated batter and fielder, too.
The 22-year-old Northern Irishman is well thought of and on recent form must have inched ahead of fellow England Lions tourist Liam Patterson-White, who has struggled to make an impact for Nottinghamshire this summer. Dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara twice during a county select XI game against India in 2021 and later enjoyed a one-on-one session with the great Virat Kohli. Still raw.
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