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  5. Major blow for England as Jack Leach ruled out of second Test against India; Ben Stokes hints at replacement

Major blow for England as Jack Leach ruled out of second Test against India; Ben Stokes hints at replacement

"Leach ruled out of the second Test. Unfortunately, the knock he took resulted in a haematoma in his leg. It's a big shame for us, a big shame for Jack, obviously after a long time out of the game with his back. To sustain that injury, first game back, obviously it's frustrating," Stokes said.

Written By: Sumeet Kavthale @sumeetkavthale New Delhi Updated on: February 01, 2024 6:34 IST
Jack Leach and Ben Stokes
Image Source : GETTY Jack Leach and Ben Stokes at ACA-VDCA Stadium on January 31, 2024

In a major injury blow to England, the experienced spinner Jack Leach has been officially ruled out of the second Test match against India on Wednesday. England captain Ben Stokes confirmed the spinner's unavailability for the Vizag Test starting on February 2 due to a knee injury he sustained in the opening match in Hyderabad. 

Stokes also hinted at a potential debut for the youngster Shoaib Bashir who missed the Hyderabad Test due to a delay in visa clearance.

"He's ruled out of the second Test," Stokes said. "Unfortunately, the knock he took resulted in a hematoma in his leg. It's a big shame for us, a big shame for Jack, obviously after a long time out of the game with his back. To sustain that injury, first game back, obviously it's frustrating. But it's something we're assessing every day. The medical team have taken over that, and hopefully, it's not something that's too serious and keeps him out for longer in the series."

Leach was heavily strapped in the second innings in Hyderabad but still bowled 10 overs and even got the big wicket of Shreyas Iyer. The team management was hopeful of Leach recovering in the week before the second Test but it seems he needs a longer time to be fully ready.

Leach's absence may open the door for the 20-year-old off-spinner from Somerset Shoaib Bashir. Bashir, who arrived late in India owing to the visa delay, is all but set to make his debut for England even if the visitors decide to go with an extra pacer. Bashir could partner with Tom Hartley in the spin department if England decide to play two pacers and if not then Rehan Ahmed, who had a middling outing in Hyderabad, may feature again.

England are 1-0 ahead in the series and would hope to extend it in Vizag.

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