As he sprinted through Pakistan’s top-order with three wickets in rapid succession on the third morning of the Third Test in Karachi, Jack Leach not only put England in good stead to finally knock out the hosts for 216 but also reached a personal milestone as well.
Along with his four first-innings innings, the left-handed spinner climbed to the top of the rankings for most Test wickets taken in 2022 with 3-72 – underlining just how important he has become an important if sometimes unheralded part of England’s New Era under Penn. Stokes and Brendon McCollum.
The 31-year-old was given the responsibility of opening the bowling and taking long spells with the ball during the three-Test series in Pakistan too, and teammate Stuart Broad was full of praise for how Leach got into his team. this year.
“It’s been an amazing year,” said England’s fast basketball player Broad. Sky Sports. “We’ve talked about how much he’s grown as a pitcher and captain throughout Stoke’s time in charge, and he has to take a lot of the credit for that personally.
Stokesy helped him out from the fields, but he seems to have grown in stature and confidence.
“Give him the responsibility to play in times of pressure too, start days and take the new ball – there’s always a lot of expectation and you have to set the tone when doing that.
“He took wickets throughout the year and today I thought he bowled some wickets to start the day. There is no doubt that Lecce was a good day to start and it was certainly England’s day.”
They spun England in the Third Test
|Jack Leach||Rehan Ahmed|
However, Leitch’s display which prevented the hosts from reaching the top in their second innings was overshadowed by the performance of a player at the other end of the scale to Somerset’s 32-wicket bowler Rehan Ahmed.
After not bowling during the morning session, Stokes turned to man-out at 18 to break a potentially dangerous fourth-wicket partnership between Babar Azam and Saud Shakil which he removed the Pakistan skippers.
Shakil, Mohammed Rizwan, Agha Salman and Mohammed Wasim all fell to Ahmed and he also became the youngest player to take five wickets on Test debut, finishing with 5-48 as Pakistan set England 167 to win and complete the series 3-0. acquittal.
He followed this from 2-89 in the first innings and once again showed the tremendous ability he possessed despite having played only three first-class matches for Leicestershire so far, and former England batsman Mark Butcher impressed with how Ahmed seized his chance.
“Most people probably thought he wasn’t going to play and he was only on the trip for a little work experience, but not with this England team,” said Butcher. Sky Sports. “They’re not afraid of talent and they’re not afraid to throw it in the deep end.
“It’s one of those things where you see these guys on the big stage for the first time and you go ‘What’s going to make them the complete package?'” “.
“For him, accuracy would be the whole package because he has a lot of tools in there already. If he can get a leg break to turn a little bit more, great.
“If he couldn’t, I don’t think it would make a huge amount of difference, he’d just be a different kind of leg-spin bowler.”
But the question now is what will come next for Ahmed? England’s next Test series is a two-match tour of New Zealand in February and on surfaces that will provide far less help for the Knights.
It is likely that England will only take one wheel to take over coach McCollum’s home country and it is the more experienced Leach who gets the nod, with Butcher hoping there will be a chance for Ahmed to play in either T20 competition or grade cricket in Australia to further learn his trade.
“The kid has just taken five for and only played three first-class matches, so you can’t say maybe not playing for Leicestershire in the first two matches of the season will hold him back, but the question is when will he next play for England?” Butcher said.
“They will only play one game in New Zealand and the last time they played there [in 2019] They haven’t played anything in Hamilton.
Ben Stokes has all the faith in Jack, so it’s not a case of looking at it and saying ‘We probably won’t use a lot of spin, let’s use Rehan Ahmed because he gives us something Jack Leach can’t’ that wrist spin might generate a little bit more.
“But I don’t think that’s going to happen, so it’s almost pointless for him to go on that trip if he doesn’t play.”
Watch England’s bid to beat Pakistan on day four in Karachi live on Sky Sports Cricket from 4.45am on Tuesday.
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