World Test Championship

Jack Leach ruled out of Ashes in huge blow for England

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Less than two weeks ahead of the first Ashes Test in Birmingham, England have been dealt a major blow with another player going down with an injury.

England's lead spinner Jack Leach has been ruled out of the Ashes series with a lower back (lumbar) stress fracture. The left-arm spinner developed symptoms during the one-off Test against Ireland at Lord's earlier this week with scans confirming a stress fracture.

England will announce a replacement for the spinner for the crucial Ashes series which kicks off the next ICC World Test Championship cycle.

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Leach’s absence is a blow to England’s strategy, with the left-arm spinner having been a key part of the bowling attack under Ben Stokes’ captaincy.

Since Stokes took charge ahead of the 2022 English Summer, no player has bowled more for England in Test cricket than Leach.

In fact, the spinner has sent down close to 200 overs more than anyone else in an English shirt in that time.

Leach’s absence will leave England with a selection dilemma, with no obvious spin replacement available.

Spin-bowling all-rounders Will Jacks and Liam Livingstone both featured in the December Test series in Pakistan, as did 18-year-old Rehan Ahmed, who had starred earlier in the year in the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean.

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All three are likely to be considered for selection in the Ashes, with an alternative approach seeing England pick an additional seamer, with seven currently named in the squad, and relying on Joe Root’s part-time spin.

The Ashes begins on June 16 with the first Test in Birmingham. 

England squad: Ben Stokes (c), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Dan Lawrence, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Josh Tongue.

Ashes schedule

1st Test: England v Australia, 16-20 June, Edgbaston, Birmingham

2nd Test: England v Australia, 28 June-2 July, Lord’s, London

3rd Test: England v Australia, 6-10 July, Headingley, Leeds

4th Test: England v Australia, 19-23 July, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

5th Test: England v Australia, 27-31 Kia Oval, London


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