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Swann bets on England spinner Leach to be pivotal in second Ashes test

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Swann bets on England spinner Leach to be pivotal in second Ashes test
FILE PHOTO: Cricket-England v Sri Lanka, Second Test - Pallekele, Sri Lanka - November 18, 2018. England's Jack Leach shows the ball as he celebrates taking five wickets and winning the match against Sri Lanka. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte   -   Copyright  DINUKA LIYANAWATTE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Left-arm spinner Jack Leach should have been in England’s setup years ago and he can help pick up wickets in the second innings of the Ashes test against Australia when the pitch starts to deteriorate, former spinner Graeme Swann has said.

With spinners Moeen Ali dropped due to poor form and Adil Rashid ruled out with injury, Leach, who has taken 20 wickets in five tests, was named in England’s 12 alongside fast bowler Jofra Archer ahead of Wednesday’s second test at Lord’s.

“Jack Leach should have been playing or at least involved in the England team years ago,” said Swann, an ambassador for Betfair.

“There was a time when he wasn’t picked for England to go on tour because there was a rumour that he only took wickets when it turned, which still absolutely amazes me.

“I think he’s got to do his holding role well, that’s the most important thing. Do your holding role in the first innings and then in the second innings, the wicket should deteriorate, it starts to spin and you can go out and win the game.”

Ali was dropped after a poor performance in the opening test in Edgbaston where he picked up only three wickets in two innings (1-42 and 2-130) and did not score more than four runs.

“England had to drop Moeen Ali because… he had become unselectable,” Swann added. “But there is plenty of scope for him to come back. He has to go away and rediscover some confidence in himself.

“It’s a real shame that Mo has missed out actually because ideally you’d have a spinner at each end, one left and one right, but you can’t pick Mo as a batsman at the moment so that is how it’s worked out.”

Australia lead the Ashes 1-0 after their 251-run win at Edgbaston.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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