Should be ready to go for Test tour of India if rehab goes well, says Jack Leach

England left-arm spinner Jack Leach believes that he should be ready for next year’s Test tour of India if everything goes according to plan in terms of rehab and his bowling load.

England left-arm spinner Jack Leach believes that he should be ready for next year’s Test tour of India if everything goes according to plan in terms of rehab and his bowling load.

Leach was ruled out of the entire Ashes series due to a stress fracture in his back detected after playing in England’s one-off Test against Ireland at Lord’s.

England’s five-match series trip to India runs from January 25 to March 11 in 2024, with Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajkot, Ranchi and Dharamshala being the venues.

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“Stokesy (captain Ben Stokes) gave us a chat after the Ireland game telling us that the Ashes aren’t the end of the journey, there is more to come after that that we want to achieve. If everything goes to plan with my rehab and I’m bowling well enough to be selected then physically, I should be ready to go.

That’s what we’re aiming for and if I get on that tour then I’ll be really looking forward to it. It’s on its way to healing and I’ve got another scan in a few weeks,” said Leach to BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra.

In England’s 2021 Test tour of India, Leach took 18 scalps at an average of 28.72.

Asked about how he got the stress fracture in his back, Leach said, “It was probably a couple of weeks before, in my last game for Somerset, that I felt a little bit of stiffness in my back – no real pain but just stiff and I thought it was just me worrying about my fitness before a big series.”

“In the lead-up to the Ireland game, in training I was still a bit stiff and as soon as I bowled in the game it turned to really sharp pain in my right-hand side and I knew that it wasn’t good. I tried to put on a brave face for the rest of that game, my inner Ben Stokes, not showing any pain and got a scan at the end of the game. It confirmed that it was a stress fracture so I was obviously gutted to miss the series,” he added.

Leach believes that the rehab phase has given him crucial learnings, which have made him determined to have a longer career playing for England.

“It wasn’t a complete fracture through the bone, it was a partial fracture so that’s good news and they feel like it will heal alright on its own. I’ve had a fracture before in that same bone, a different part of the bone, when I was younger,” he said.

“I haven’t asked too many questions as to why it has happened, I’ve focused on what I can do better moving forward in terms of looking after myself and my body to be able to bowl all the overs that I want to bowl for England.

Already I’ve learnt so much from the rehab stuff, things I will take forward and can help prolong my career. It’s made me even more motivated and I want to play a lot more for England,” he added.

(IANS)

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