The news of Jack Leach’s knee injury further compounds England’s troubles during their Test tour of India.
Jack Leach is now a cause for concern for England during their tour of India due to a knee issue that affected him during a challenging second day for the team in Hyderabad.
The lone experienced spinner in England’s team is 32 years old and struggled visibly as India scored 421 runs for seven wickets, taking a lead of 175 runs in the first innings. Despite recovering from a lower-back stress fracture that kept him out of last year’s Ashes, Leach encountered another problem after an awkward fall on the first evening.
“He injured his knee twice, once during the first dive at fine leg and again today,” explained Jeetan Patel, the ex-New Zealand spinner and current assistant coach for England. “It’s causing him some discomfort, to be honest. It must be a significant injury, at least for him, because he wouldn’t shy away from his responsibilities.”
On the second day, Leach bowled 16 overs in six separate spells, but none of them lasted longer than four. This is worrisome for the team, as they are already being outperformed by their opponents in terms of spin. The current squad has 20-year-old Shoaib Bashir as their backup spinner, but he has not yet arrived in India as his visa was just recently approved in the UK.
Patel expressed disappointment over Jack’s back injury and how it affected his performance on the field, specifically when he had to dive at fine leg. Despite this setback, Patel acknowledges Jack’s strength and emphasizes the importance of being strategic for the remaining Tests. He believes that Jack will make a comeback in the fourth innings, as he is a key player for the team.
This game may not have a fourth inning and England may struggle to take 20 wickets. Leach did well at keeping the run-rate low, but the team has two inexperienced players in Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed. Joe Root’s off-breaks seem to be the most effective.
On the second day, Hartley performed better by taking two wickets. This was a marked improvement from his first day in the Test, where he gave away 63 runs in nine overs and was hit for a six on his very first ball by Yashasvi Jaiswal.
“Patel credited Jack for getting through to him. Going from saying ‘that was difficult’ to where Hartley was this morning in just 10 minutes was impressive. It was a challenging second day, but the team’s effort was remarkable. If you didn’t know the score and walked into the ground, you would think we were dominating the game.”