Was frustrating not to play in the New Zealand Tests despite dry surfaces, admits Jack Leach

English spinner Jack Leach, who was unfortunate to miss out on the two Tests against New Zealand, has admitted that it was frustrating for him not to be part of the playing XI. Alongside that, he also insisted that it was nice to play white-ball games for Somerset, testing his white-ball skills.

Being Jack Leach in English cricket is a tough job, just months after being one of the heroes in the loss against India, the left-arm spinner was unfortunate to miss out on both the Tests against New Zealand at home. While the decision stemmed from the fact that the hosts missed a roost of all-rounders, Leach’s absence was immense as the hosts lost the Test series 0-1 at home, their first series loss at home in this century against New Zealand.

Interestingly, the left-arm spinner’s last home appearance came in the 2019 Ashes and ever since has been second to Dom Bess in the pecking order for home Tests. While he is likely to break the shackle in the upcoming five-match Test series against India, Leach admitted that it was frustrating for him to not be part of the playing XI against New Zealand. The left-arm spinner also added that it was tough to sit out on pitches that were dry and favouring spin bowlers. 

“That was the frustrating thing (to not be in the playing XI). I understood it from a team point of view, in terms of the balance of the team. If it had been three seamers and a spinner, that would have been the first time I’d have played in that balance of team,” Leach admitted, reported ESPNCricinfo.

“Even at Somerset we’re playing with four seamers, and even a batter who bowls seam, Tom Abell, or Tom Lammonby, who bowls left-arm seam. My experience hasn’t been in that balance of team, so having not done that before, it would have been a huge challenge which I’d have loved to do, but I understand why they want four seamers, especially in England,” he added.

“From the point of view of just playing games, I was frustrated not to play, and they were wickets I felt I could have had a positive impact on the game.”

Leach has been an integral part of the English red-ball setup, which has meant that he has not played a lot of white-ball games for the various setups. However, this summer, the left-arm spinner represented Somerset in two white-ball games in a rare occurrence, something that changed his mindset. 

“The nice thing was I was coming in on wickets they thought might spin, so I haven’t had to experience the flat ones yet in T20 cricket. But, yeah, it’s given me confidence that I can play that format. And also I probably feel like I’ve got nothing to lose in that format, and it’s picking up skills and reading batters when they come after you, and using that to help you even in the Test match game,” he concluded.

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