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PAUL NEWMAN: England are in a pickle over choosing a spin twin for Jack Leach

It seemed like the perfect answer. England need at least another decent spinner, if not a third, for their Test tour of Pakistan and Brendon McCullum looked at the best options when he asked Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid to consider coming out of the red ball.

Moeen in particular seemed enthusiastic when, during the Trent Bridge Test against New Zealand earlier this summer, he talked about the coach’s persuasive nature and how his game is so suited to the Ben Stokes-McCullum revolution.

Alas, that now seems unlikely. Rashid was never a serious contender because he doesn’t have his heart (or shoulder) in red-ball cricket, but it came as a disappointment to hear Moeen play down his interest in traveling for the three-Test tour in December.

Coach Brendon McCullum faces selection headache over who to pick to back Jack Leach
Coach Brendon McCullum faces selection headache over who to pick to back Jack Leach

Coach Brendon McCullum faces selection headache over who to pick to back Jack Leach

Leach will be hoping to find joy in pitches that should play into his hands on the Pakistan tour
Leach will be hoping to find joy in pitches that should play into his hands on the Pakistan tour

Leach will be hoping to find joy in pitches that should play into his hands on the Pakistan tour

As the stand-in England T20 captain said in his new Sportsmail column this week, his opinion is not made up and McCullum’s persuasive skills may still hold. But Moeen clearly has trouble returning to another ‘bubble’ due to the high security in Pakistan, while it must be remembered that he remains a white-ball player first and foremost and has committed to the new T20 league in the United United Arab Emirates in January. With the T20 World Cup immediately following the seven-match series that began in Karachi yesterday, he faces another long spell away from home.

So if not Moeen, who should back up Jack Leach (right), who is a definite starter, although it is strange that England should not have him play in Somerset’s last two Championship games. Leach, you would have thought, could have done with a few more overs under his belt.

He plays in the first Test in Rawalpindi on December 1 and it may be that England feel their slow bowling needs are met with the addition of Joe Root’s off-spin and even the part-time offering of Harry Brook.

The New Zealander seems to have tried and failed to prize Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid out of retirement for this particular tour
The New Zealander seems to have tried and failed to prize Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid out of retirement for this particular tour

The New Zealander seems to have tried and failed to prize Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid out of retirement for this particular tour

But they will need at least one more specialist in the squad, although Pakistan’s pitches are unlikely to replicate the dust bowls so often found in India. And as always with English spin, the cupboard is worryingly bare.

England have taken Matt Parkinson around the world over the last few years without ever seeming to want to play him, and his absence from the T20 squad is telling. It could be that England have finally decided what they suspected all along, that Parkinson does not bowl fast enough, even as a leg-spinner, for international cricket.

There are some promising young spinners around the counties, although one of the best of them, Amar Virdi, seems to have gone backwards in Surrey.

England's Moeen Ali is set to assess whether he wants to continue his Test career this winter while with the white ball in Pakistan
England's Moeen Ali is set to assess whether he wants to continue his Test career this winter while with the white ball in Pakistan

England’s Moeen Ali is set to assess whether he wants to continue his Test career this winter while with the white ball in Pakistan

Ali recently reversed his decision to retire from Test cricket under coach McCullum, but it seems unlikely he will play this winter
Ali recently reversed his decision to retire from Test cricket under coach McCullum, but it seems unlikely he will play this winter

Ali recently reversed his decision to retire from Test cricket under coach McCullum, but it seems unlikely he will play this winter

Leicestershire’s Rehan Ahmed might be the best, but he might be more of a white-ball prospect, while it’s certainly too early for Sussex’s Jack Carson, 21.

That leaves us with Yorkshire’s Dom Bess, who still looks to have a lot of work to do to become a Test spinner, and Hampshire’s Liam Dawson, who may now be favourite.

At first glance, Dawson doesn’t seem the kind of exciting cricketer associated with Bazball. He is more pragmatic than dynamic and Stokes and McCullum do not do pragmatism. But Dawson, 32, is a fine all-rounder and former England coach Trevor Bayliss, another proponent of positive red-ball cricket, rated him highly as soon as he saw him.

Dawson it may be, unless Moeen can be persuaded to have one last Test hurray in the country which has such an emotional appeal to him. Come on Mo, say yes to McCullum and jump on the bandwagon. After all, you are long retired.

Adil Rashid's heart (and shoulder) doesn't seem to be in the red ball game after struggling
Adil Rashid's heart (and shoulder) doesn't seem to be in the red ball game after struggling

Adil Rashid’s heart (and shoulder) doesn’t seem to be in the red ball game after struggling

Temporary renaming of the Oval in Stewart Snr’s honor the perfect tribute

How fitting that the Oval has been temporarily renamed in Micky Stewart’s honor as title-chasing Surrey play their final home Championship game of the season against Yorkshire this week. What a servant to the famous old club Stewart Snr has been and what a key figure he was for England, as their first modern coach.

It would be the perfect tribute to Micky and son Alec if Surrey win this week and go on to win the title. When Hampshire collapsed to 57 all out last night in reply to Kent’s 165, Surrey’s 20th Championship crown moved even closer.

The temporary renaming of the famous old ground to be known as the Micky Stewart Oval was a fitting touch from Surrey
The temporary renaming of the famous old ground to be known as the Micky Stewart Oval was a fitting touch from Surrey

The temporary renaming of the famous old ground to be known as the Micky Stewart Oval was a fitting touch from Surrey

Evison earned praise from the Kent glory at Lord’s last week

All eyes were rightly on Darren Stevens as Kent won the Royal London Cup and their victory over Lancashire was the perfect finale to the 46-year-old’s extraordinary career at Canterbury.

But it was Joey Evison, a player 26 years Stevens’ junior, who deserved praise for his all-round contribution to Kent’s narrow victory. Evison, a product of Stamford School and fellow Kent stalwart Dean Headley, will become a regular at Canterbury next season after initially arriving on loan from Notts. He is Kent’s future, while Stevens seeks one last hurray as a player-coach at Leicestershire or Glamorgan.

Darren Steves naturally received praise, Joey Evison deserves plenty of credit for his performance in the Royal London Cup final
Darren Steves naturally received praise, Joey Evison deserves plenty of credit for his performance in the Royal London Cup final

Darren Steves naturally received praise, Joey Evison deserves plenty of credit for his performance in the Royal London Cup final

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