After suffering a back stress fracture during the win over Ireland at Lord’s, England’s left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the five-match Ashes series against Australia. Leach, who took four wickets in England’s one-off Test victory over Ireland earlier this week, has been a mainstay in the England lineup under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, capturing 46 Test wickets in 2018.
He was included in the 16-man England team that was announced on Saturday for the opening two Ashes Tests. With fast bowler Jofra Archer being ruled out, Leach’s injury is the most recent and severe setback for England’s bowling as the series draws closer. “The 31-year-old Somerset slow left-armer developed low back symptoms during England’s victory over Ireland on Saturday,” the ECB was quoted as saying in a statement.
“A scan on Sunday in London has revealed a stress fracture, which will keep him out of the forthcoming Ashes test series … England will announce a replacement for the Ashes series in due course,” ECB asserted. Leach may not be a living example of England’s aggressive cricketing approach under Ben Stokes, but he is one of the players in the current England lineup who is hardest to replace.
Jack Leach picked a three-fer against Ireland
Leach is one of the five factors that Stokes believes characterized the Stokes-McCullum era. He has bowled 179 more overs for England than any other bowler since Stokes took over as captain at the beginning of the 2022 summer. He shares the country’s record for most five-wicket hauls and is England’s joint-leading wicket-taker.
Although his basic stats aren’t spectacular, he plays a crucial part for Stokes’ side. There are several ways England might replace Leach, but none are easy, especially in light of Stokes‘ ongoing fitness issues. Leach had three wickets in the first innings of the match against Ireland, but on the third day, he had trouble finding the breakthroughs as Andy McBrine and Mark Adair pulled together a 163-run partnership for the seventh wicket to prevent an innings defeat.
The left-arm spinner from Somerset is the only English-qualified spinner with at least 10 wickets in the County Championship so far this year. Rehan Ahmed, Will Jacks, and Liam Livingstone, who all made their Test debuts in Pakistan during the winter, as well as the previously capped Dom Bess and Liam Dawson, might all be candidates to join the team.