Visakhapatnam, Jan 31: England’s left-arm spinner Jack Leach is highly doubtful for playing in the second Test against India, starting in Visakhapatnam on Friday, after sitting out the side’s first training session held on Wednesday.
Leach jarred his left knee while fielding during England's thrilling 28-run win over India in the series opener at Hyderabad last week. He aggravated the injury later on in the same match, bowling with a swollen joint and took out the wicket of Shreyas Iyer in the second innings.
"He's a tough kid, Leachy, so I'm not sure. You can never really write him off. We'll see how he pulls up in a couple of days," said opening batter Zak Crawley to reporters.
Leach’s injury means England may not be able to execute their plan of playing four spinners in Visakhapatnam, with uncapped off-spinner Shoaib Bashir likely to get a debut in case the senior spinner is not fit in time for the second Test.
Bashir has played just six first-class matches and has 10 wickets to his name. He arrived in India during the Hyderabad Test after visa issues owing to his Pakistani heritage forced him to return home to London and get the visa there.
"He's a great kid, he's got a lot about him. He knows what he is trying to do with his bowling, and he backs himself. I like that and feel like if he got his chance in this series he would go well," added Crawley.
Though England have a 1-0 lead in the five-game series, but Crawley, who was a member of the 2021 touring party winning the opening game in Chennai, before suffering a slide to lose the series 3-1, isn’t taking India lightly.
"Whoever they pick, they're going to be a very good team. They're a top side in their own conditions. There are four games left and we need to stick to what we do well. Hopefully the results come from there but we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We're preparing for this one like it's the first game, we're staying where our feet are and we'll see where that takes us."
India will be missing the services of KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja due to injuries, but Crawley stated England are focused on what they need to go for getting things right in Visakhapatnam.
“We haven’t spoken about that, to be honest. As I said, it sounds a cliche, but we stick to what we do well, we’re not too worried about what they’re doing. Two very good players missing, but I’m sure looking at their depth, they’ve got two very good players coming in. So that won’t change anything for us too much.”
“We just try and play the same, read the conditions on day one and see what happens from then. They're absolutely a top side in their own conditions. There are four games left, we have got to stick to what we do well and hopefully results come from there," he said. (IANS)