England can rebuild attack in Leach’s absence, says Mike Atherton

Left-hander Leach dropped out of a five-game series Sunday because of a stress fracture in his back, dealing a serious blow to the home team’s hopes of winning the title.

Although the 31-year-old is not the biggest name in the England attack, Leach has played the most weekends and is one of the team’s most prolific players since captain Ben Stokes and coach Brandon McCullum took over last year.

They said they would announce a replacement in due course, but the decision will not be easy because of the lack of backs in the English game, Atherton wrote in the Times.

For years when the county championship was relegated to the back of the season, counties had no incentive to produce or play spinners, and the county game has never been more sparse on quality spin.

Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, who debuted in the Pakistan Test in December, and all-purpose Will Jacks are being considered as replacements, and Joe Root may use more off-spin on a part-time basis.

I suspect they might call both Ahmed and Jax into the team to assess their condition, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they changed their team balance for the test at Edgbaston, Atherton said.

England was already worried about Stokes’ sore knee, which could limit his bowling in the first Test at Edgbaston, which begins June 16.

Former England spinner Monty Panezar thinks England can opt for an extra fast bowler and use green lanes specifically designed to attack with more stitches.

They might just not take the (main) spinner for the first Test match…. said Panezar in an interview with Sky Sports.

They might just change the conditions on the pitch, choose a slightly greener surface where all England’s fast bowlers, especially seam bowlers, will be in play throughout the Test match.

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