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Jack Leach is ruled OUT of England’s Ashes team after he suffered a stress fracture in his back


There will be no Headingley heroics, with bat or ball, for Jack Leach in this Ashes. Only the desperate disappointment of being kicked out of the entire series on Sunday despite knowing he had Ben Stokes’ full confidence to play a full part against Australia.

Just as all attention was on the condition of Ben Stokes’ knee and if it was a genuine concern for the Ashes’ first test at Edgbaston in just 11 days, news broke yesterday that Leach had suffered a stress fracture to his back and was out for the entire Summer Test.

It’s a blow to the spinner and an England captain at Stokes who did so much to make the ubiquitous Leach a big part of the Bazball revolution and had the ball thrown to him again early on the first day of what is become the beating of Ireland.

Leach, 31, apparently developed lower back problems as he was battered for 56 in an eight spell after lunch at Lord’s on Saturday and a scan in London yesterday revealed a stress fracture which will keep him out of five Ashes tests in six and a half weeks.

England will name a replacement in their 16-man squad for the first two Ashes Tests this week and it will be between Rehan Ahmed and Will Jacks, who both excelled on their debut as spin-bowling all-rounders in the winter win over Pakistan, or perhaps Liam Dawson’s left field pick, Hampshire’s slow and underrated left arm.

Jack Leach will miss this summer’s Ashes Tests with England with a stress fracture in his back

The spinner was injured in Saturday's England win over Ireland at Lord's

The spinner was injured in Saturday’s England win over Ireland at Lord’s

The best short-term option would be Moeen Ali’s experience, but he rejected England manager Brendon McCullum’s approaches to feature in that 3-0 win in Pakistan and, having just returned from the IPL, he is unlikely England think now. .

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone, whose Test debut was cut short by injury in Pakistan, is another thrilling option that’s thoroughly modern, being an explosive batsman and bowler both out and in leg rotation. But he is felt to be the underdog at this point.

For now, as disappointing as this news is for one of the most popular members of the England squad, Leach’s absence could even solve a problem for England as fears grow that the left knee of captain Ben Stokes prevents him from bowling in the Ashes.

It means England could now ditch their specialist spinner for the first Test per week on Friday at the Edgbaston pitch which isn’t exactly suited to slow bowling and choose four seams to cover the likely absence of a fifth bowler at Stokes.

Joe Root, a more than decent off-spinner, could then carry the slow bowling charge for England against an Australian side likely to contain four southpaws in their top seven, largely negating any advantage Leach might have had.

So England could field both Stuart Broad, outstanding in winning another five wicket first innings in the 10 wicket win over Ireland, and the extreme pace of Mark Wood to join some selections, as long as They’re in Shape, by Jimmy Anderson. and Ollie Robinson.

But England will need a specialist spinner at some point in the Ashes and the opportunity could arise for 18-year-old all-rounder Ahmed, who burst onto the scene with a five-wicket shot in the last test against Pakistan in Karachi. last winter.

Or Jacks, 24, the thrilling Surrey talent who took six wickets in one innings in the first Test at Rawalpindi with what had been seen as occasional breaks but is best known as a mid-range attacking batsman .

The absence of Leach, who took the famous Step in the Ashes in 2019, is another blow

The absence of Leach, who took the famous Step in the Ashes in 2019, is another blow

Teenager Rehan Ahmed is one of the most likely options to replace Leach in the squad

Will Jacks is another option who could join the Ashes team later this month.

Rehan Ahmed and Will Jacks are the main options to replace Leach for the Ashes series

Whatever happens, the absence of Leach, who made Ashes most famous in history by linking Stokes with an extraordinary victory against Australia at Leeds in 2019, is another blow for England.

They have already seen Jofra Archer ruled out for the summer and Olly Stone certain to miss at least the first three Tests with a hamstring problem. Then there were minor issues with Anderson and Robinson England insists he won’t stop them from playing at Edgbaston.

The latest concern relates to the ongoing knee problems of Stokes, who visibly winced in pain and then subsequently hobbled when he took Curtis Campher’s routine catch short-legged during Ireland’s resistance at Lord’s before give in to inevitable defeat.

The condition of Stokes’ left knee is set to dominate England’s thinking as they head out in droves to play golf at some of Scotland’s best courses this week as part of their deliberately relaxed preparation for an Ashes series which starts in just 11 days. .

The England captain was adamant after Ireland extended their one-time test at Lord’s until the final session of matchday three where they are on course to play at Edgbaston and spent 20 minutes before the game on Saturday trying to prove it .

Ben Stokes' knee condition entering The Ashes will dominate England thinking

Ben Stokes’ knee condition entering The Ashes will dominate England thinking

Josh Tongue took five wickets against Ireland and was named in England's 16 Ashes squad

Josh Tongue took five wickets against Ireland and was named in England’s 16 Ashes squad

But can the enormity of the Ashes event, Stokes’ superhuman qualities and sheer adrenaline be enough to see him fill the fourth player role which remains crucial to the balance of the England squad and any his confidence in the pre-series?

At least England found another genuine alternative to Wood as a point of difference with Josh Tongue taking five wickets in his first appearance at Lord’s in the second leg in Ireland and being named in England’s squad for 16 players for the first two Ashes Tests. His emergence proved another inspired selection ahead of Chris Woakes here by an England side that have achieved just about everything in the past year.

Now they have another problem to solve in Leach’s absence, but it’s one that could work well to their advantage, with Anderson, Robinson, Wood and Broad lined up against Australia in the first Test and then the England seeing how they are corrected after that. .

But for Leach it’s a blow and he’ll just have to focus now on getting back to full fitness in time for England’s next Test mission after the Ashes, which won’t be until January’s five-test trip to India. It will be really necessary then.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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