He’s a Fine Spinner But He’s Still a Role Player, Says Former Australia Bowler Jason Gillespie About England’s Jack Leach


Jack Leach (Credit: IANS)

Jack Leach (Credit: IANS)

The inexperience that England’s spinners possess is all the more reason why Gillespie believes that placing the onus on Leach to be the main difference-maker is a rather unrealistic stance to take.

It has become a widely accepted belief that the tale of any Test series in India will be woven by the spinners only. And with the return of spinner Jack Leach, England seems to have received yet another confidence boost as they head to India.

But, former Australia pacer Jason Gillespie stated that Leach is still merely a role player and cannot be expected to be the main point of difference for England as they take on India in a five-match Test series soon.

Leach has played 35 Tests for England since his debut in 2018 and picked 124 wickets at an average of 34.2. He was sidelined for the entirety of last year’s Ashes at home due to a stress fracture in the back, which was diagnosed after he participated in England’s one-off Test against Ireland at Lords.

But after regaining his fitness, the spinner is now all set to lead England’s charge with the ball in the upcoming five Tests against India.

Leach’s record in India is quite admirable, scalping 19 wickets in 5 matches,  at an average of 32.42.

Yet, Gillespie believes that the role Leach plays for England is not that of a star player but can be likened to that of former English cricketer Ashley Giles in the 2005 Ashes.

“Leach is a fine spinner, but he’s a role player for England, much in the mould of Ashley Giles in the 2005 Ashes. Giles was unheralded, averaging two wickets a Test in that memorable series, but his complementing of the four quicks shouldn’t be underestimated. Leach does a similar job for England now,” wrote Gillespie in his article for the Daily Mail.

“He’s (Leach) going to have to be quite a bit more prominent in India, with Rehan Ahmed, a leg-spinner with a lot of potential but just one cap, and two new picks in Tom Hartley, of Lancashire, and Somerset’s Shoaib Bashir behind him.”

Alongside Leach in India will be leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, who made his Test debut in Karachi against Pakistan and picked a five-wicket haul. There is also the uncapped spin-bowling duo of left-arm spinner Tom Hartley and off-spinner Shoaib Bashir.

The inexperience that England’s spinners possess is all the more reason why Gillespie believes that placing the onus on Leach to be the main difference-maker is a rather unrealistic stance to take.

“It’s not as if Leach has played 70 matches, either. He’s played only half that, but because they have selected three frightfully inexperienced players, he is the main man.”

“Being lead spinner changes the onus on you as a bowler. And by the way, Indians are pretty decent players of spin. So what England must do is make sure their pace attack complements Leach’s slow left-armers,” exclaimed Gillespie.

The five-match Test series between India and England will kick off with the first match being played on January 25.



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