In a telling blow for England ahead of the Ashes series, left-arm spinner Jack Leach will miss the entire leg due to a low back stress fracture. The England Cricket Board (ECB) issued an official statement on Sunday and will announce a replacement for the veteran cricketer in due course.
According to the ECB, Leach developed the injury during the ten-wicket win over Ireland at Lord's on Saturday. The Somerset spinner has established himself as the first-choice spinner in Test cricket for England in the last 18 months. He played an integral role in England's away Test series victory over Pakistan and took four scalps in the win over Ireland at the Home of Cricket.
The likely contenders to replace Leach are Rehan Ahmed, Will Jacks, and Moeen Ali. However, Moeen has retired from Test cricket and shut the door on returning to the format when he had the chance ahead of the three-Test series against Pakistan.
Injury problems mount for England ahead of the Ashes:
With Leach's injury, England have lost another first-choice player ahead of the Ashes. The Englishmen had already lost Jofra Archer before the summer, while James Anderson and Ollie Robinson did not feature in the Ireland Test. Olly Stone remains unavailable for the first two Ashes Tests, while Jamie Overton is recovering from a back stress fracture.
However, 25-year-old fast bowler Josh Tongue bolstered England's hopes with a fifer against Ireland. Although Ben Stokes' knee issue remains a concern, he insisted on his readiness to bowl in the Ashes. The five-Test series gets underway on June 16th at Edgbaston.