Leach's absence may prompt a tactical shift for England in the upcoming Test, potentially introducing an additional seamer alongside James Anderson.
Jack Leach has been sidelined for the remaining Tests in England’s series against India due to an enduring knee injury sustained while fielding during the opening Test in Hyderabad. Despite contributing with a dismissal in the first innings, the swelling in his knee restricted his mobility, limiting him to brief bowling spells. Despite initial optimism about a 10-day break aiding his recovery, the lack of progress led Leach to opt for further treatment after assessment in Abu Dhabi. This setback comes after his recent return from a stress fracture of the back that kept him out of last summer’s Ashes series.
The collaboration between the England and Somerset medical teams will play a crucial role in Leach’s rehabilitation. England has chosen not to bring in a replacement, relying on limited spin options with Rehan Ahmed, Tom Hartley, and Shoaib Bashir, alongside Joe Root as the sole all-rounder. Leach’s absence may prompt a tactical shift for England in the upcoming Test, potentially introducing an additional seamer alongside James Anderson.
The decision on the bowling combination will be influenced by the surface assessment by captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum. The team is scheduled to return to India on Monday, gearing up for a training session on Tuesday at the Niranjan Shah Stadium before the third Test in Rajkot on Thursday.
Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul were absent from the second Test in Visakhapatnam due to injuries, but they are anticipated to return for the third Test, pending clearance from the BCCI’s medical team. One definite change in India’s playing XI is on the horizon as Shreyas Iyer, who batted at No. 4 in the Vizag Test but is not part of the last three Tests, requires a replacement.
KL Rahul, initially occupying the No. 4 position in the series opener, is the probable replacement for Iyer in the playing XI. Should Rahul’s fitness remain a concern, the debut of Mumbai batter Sarfaraz Khan could be a viable option for the Rajkot Test.
The position of KS Bharat in India’s playing XI is uncertain. The 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batter’s below-par performance in the first two matches, both with the bat and in keeping, might lead to his replacement by rookie Dhruv Jurel, who remained on the bench in the initial Tests.
India’s probable playing XI:
KS Bharat (WK) or Dhruv Jurel