Leach was speaking after the second day of England’s warm-up match against England Lions in Brisbane was washed out; the left-arm spinner has vowed to rely on his own strengths if selected to take on Australia as his side prepares for the first Test at the Gabba
Last Updated: 01/12/21 7:47am
The performances of the “very impressive” Nathan Lyon have formed part of Jack Leach’s preparation for the upcoming Ashes series.
But the left-arm orthodox spinner, speaking after the second day of England’s warm-up match against England Lions in Brisbane was washed out, has vowed to rely on his own strengths if selected to take on Australia as his side prepares for the first Test at the Gabba.
“For years I’ve watched Nathan Lyon and he’s very impressive,” Leach told reporters on Wednesday from the Queensland capital.
“Just how strong his stock ball is and on wickets that don’t necessarily offer a lot spin-wise he’s found ways to extract extra bounce, dip and all the other things.
“They’re the kind of things that I’ve been trying to add in but still sticking to my strengths as well.”
The spinner indicated the return of Ben Stokes and presence of Stokes’s fellow all-rounder Chris Woakes gave him some confidence about being selected for the five-Test series that starts in Brisbane on December 8.
“From the summer, the feedback was that Stokesy not being in the side, not having that all-round option in the top order, kind of made things difficult for me to get in the side,” Leach said.
“So I think having him back is great. Also having Woakes back … both of them back is hopefully positive for being able to fit in a spinner in, for sure.”
Leach and Stokes combined to help England claim a close one-wicket win at Headingley during the drawn Ashes series in 2019.
Leach smiled when asked if he would ever get tired of hearing about his unbeaten score of one on that occasion – when Stokes recorded 135 not out.
“I’m not fed up with the one not out – I don’t think I ever will be, but I guess I want to keep performing for England (and) that’s what it comes down to,” he said.
Melbourne joins clamour to host fifth Test
With Perth’s Ashes test in doubt over strict Covid-19 rules, authorities in Victoria state have petitioned Cricket Australia to bring the series back to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The MCG is already hosting the third test between Australia and England in its traditional Boxing Day schedule from December 26 but would have an “undeniable” case to replace Perth for the fifth and final match from January 14, Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula said.
“The Victorian government has certainly made it clear to Cricket Australia that if the Perth test is unable to go ahead that wed be not just prepared to host the fifth test but very keen to host the fifth test, Pakula told reporters on Wednesday.
“If they cant get to Perth and its a commercial decision then I think the MCGs claims are pretty close to undeniable.
“We will wait and see, but Cricket Australia is well aware of our interest.”
Pakula’s comments follow similar expressions of interest from other states including New South Wales, which hosts the fourth test in Sydney, and Tasmania.
Perth’s hopes of hosting an Ashes test plunged on Tuesday when Western Australia state Premier Mark McGowan said players and staff would need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival from New South Wales after the January 5-9 Sydney test.
Cricket Australia has repeatedly declined to comment on the schedule.