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England's spinner, Jack Leach, will not be playing in the second Test against India due to a knee injury.
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England’s spinner, Jack Leach, will not be playing in the second Test against India due to a knee injury.

Ben Stokes announced that Jack Leach will not be playing in the upcoming second Test against India, which begins on Friday. The England captain also shared that he will soon begin his journey towards becoming an all-rounder again, specifically in terms of bowling.

Leach battled through last week’s 28-run victory in Hyderabad after suffering a badly bruised left knee on day one, an injury that saw the spinner sit out training two days out of the next instalment and cruelly followed last summer’s lower back stress fracture.

Shoaib Bashir, the 20-year-old off-spinner who arrived in India late due to visa complications, is the back up – a possible Test debut for a player with just six first-class matches to date – but the England captain and head coach Brendon McCullum still wanted another look at the pitch at the ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium.

Stokes expressed disappointment for both Jack and the team, particularly since he had been out of the game for a while due to his back. The situation is frustrating, but it is being monitored daily by the medical team. Hopefully, it will not be a serious issue and he will not miss any more games in the series.

When asked about Tom Hartley’s successful performance in his debut Test match where he took seven wickets for 62 runs in the fourth innings, Stokes was questioned about the management’s confidence in picking Bashir for the team. Stokes stated that Bashir is already part of the squad and it is not a bold decision to choose someone from the squad to play a Test match. He also mentioned that Bashir was not selected just for the experience and if the team feels the need to include him, they will do so.

“What is the risk? That is my mindset if he gets the opportunity to play. I want to ensure that I provide him with the best possible experience – one that is enjoyable and fun – because your first Test match is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Stokes is set to begin his journey towards regaining his all-rounder status by participating in training for the first time since his knee surgery in November. He has slimmed down and displayed impressive athleticism with a run out in the first Test, giving him hope for his future prospects.

He stated, “This excursion serves as a return to bowling for me. The intention to bowl in the practice nets marks the beginning of low-impact bowling, to gradually reintroduce my body to the activity. I won’t be bowling during the game, but I am eager to get back into it. I have missed it and it will greatly benefit the team.”

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When questioned about his impressive play, Stokes was asked if he could have performed a running, diving, reverse flick like his run out of Jadeja before his operation. He responded by saying he didn’t believe it would have been possible because he would have been more cautious about his movements. However, on Sunday, he was able to execute the move without hesitation.

Source: theguardian.com