Leach ruled out of Pakistan series with broken thumb


England spinner Jack Leach will play no part in the series against Pakistan after he broke his left thumb in warm-ups during a County Championship match against Hampshire.

Leach broke into the England Test XI at the back end of a long tour to Australia and New Zealand but will not be named in England’s Test squad when it is unveiled on Wednesday.

He has been the form spinner in county cricket for the past two seasons taking 51 wickets for Somerset last in the 2017 season, the most for any England eligible spinner.

Somerset CCC tweeted: “Jack Leach has sustained a broken left thumb, it’s too early to know how long he will be out for at the moment.”

Candidates to replace Leach in the XI and the squad include Moeen Ali, who was dropped for Leach for the second Test against New Zealand, Hampshire tweaker Liam Dawson would be an outside bet though he has experience at Test level and Surrey’s teenaged off-spinner Amar Virdi did his case no harm by bagging England skipper Joe Root’s wicket in his side’s win over Yorkshire.

Virdi told ESPNcricinfo: “For me it’s very early days, and my focus is trying to cement my place for Surrey.

“If anything comes of that, then that’s good.”

The 18-year-old has taken 18 wickets in the County Championship so far this season and might hope to catch the eye of new chief selector Ed Smith.