Nasser Hussain has questioned the exclusion of spinner Jack Leach from England's playing XI in the ongoing second Test of the Ashes 2021-22 against Australia, a day-night affair at the Adelaide Oval.
Hussain has criticized England’s decision to overlook Leach for the crucial ongoing second day-night Test against Australia, asking the tourists if the left-arm spinner is not playing on the spin-friendly pitch at Adelaide, then when will his chance come?
England went without a specialist spinner in the ongoing pink-ball Ashes Test and the decision has hit them hard, as the tourists are on the cusp of another heavy defeat in the ongoing Ashes series.
His criticism came after Nathan Lyon’s bowling display in the ongoing day-night Test, as the spinner snared three wickets in the first innings while managing one wicket so far in the final inning in Adelaide.
Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail: “I’ve got complete admiration for Lyon. It’s bloody difficult bowling finger spin in Australia but he has become a wonderful bowler and has more than 400 Test wickets to his name. He was beating England’s left handers ball after ball and he was all over a right-hander in Ollie Pope like a rash in the first innings. It is quite another to do it in Adelaide on that sort of dry, turning surface in 38-degree heat.”
He continued, “But the ball was turning in Adelaide on day two and England chose to go into this match without a specialist spinner. It is one thing leaving Leach out in England where the Dukes' ball moves all day long and four-seamers can do all the bowling.
The sight of Nathan Lyon gaining turn and bounce and bowling with drop and drift on day four of the second Test raises a big question for England - if Jack Leach is not going to play at Adelaide on that pitch when will he?”
Highlighting how England looked desperate to fill the gap of a spinner on day four in the ongoing second Test, Hussain wrote: “The sight of Ollie Robinson bowling off-spin summed it all up. Joe Root not only had to fill the role of a spinner but England had to turn to a seamer to bowl spin, along with Dawid Malan’s occasional leg-spin, to fill the gaps in the attack.”
The former England captain also explained the difference in spin approach of Australia and England in the ongoing Test.
He added, “The first innings demonstrated the difference in attitude towards spin of these sides. Root bowled 20 overs out of 150 but then Lyon sent down 28 out of the 84 overs it took Australia to bowl England out. It’s just a completely different mindset. England clearly does not rate Leach and believes Root can do just as good a job with the ball.”
The 53-year-old also said it is not new for England to not be confident with the spinners. He said, “We all heard the rumors last summer that England was planning to go in without a spinner in the Ashes because the stats told them opposition fingers spinners do not usually succeed in Australia.”
Hussain signed off by saying, “It was their cunning plan. But that doesn’t mean they should throw in the towel with spin and not try to do something about it. And the wider question is where the English game is with a spin because it’s hardly a new problem.”
(Daily Mail inputs)