Left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the remainder of England’s tour to South Africa after failing to recover sufficiently from illness.
The Somerset bowler suffered sepsis in New Zealand before being badly affected by the gastroenteritis and flu that made its way through England’s squad in South Africa.
While he has since returned to training, Leach has failed to recover to the levels of fitness necessary to be considered for selection, and the decision has been made in conjunction with the England team management for him to return home to continue his rehabilitation to give him the best chance of being ready for England’s next Test tour, to Sri Lanka in March.
“It has been an unfortunate time for Jack with illness and since the Test series in New Zealand six weeks ago, he hasn’t been able to get 100 per cent fit,” said England head coach Chris Silverwood.
“This has hampered his preparation in South Africa and despite his best endeavours he is not in a position to make himself available for selection for the final two Test matches.
“He is a great lad to have around the squad and his infectious personality and popularity will be missed. However, his focus has to be getting himself better and receiving the optimum levels of recovery and treatment, which is best served back in England without any distractions.”
The decision means Leach’s Somerset teammate Dom Bess will likely retain his place in the England side for the third Test at Port Elizabeth, which begins on Thursday 16 January.
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