Ben Stokes dealt major Ashes blow as star man withdraws from the squad

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Despite hosting The Ashes this year and seemingly looking to be favourites, injuries to key players are beginning to cause chaos for England, with Jack Leach now ruled out.

Leach underwent a scan last week to determine the extent of his latest injury setback and the ECB promptly announced that because of symptoms and issues in his lower back, the slow left-armer will no longer be available for selection.

England have also recently been sweating over the fitness of all-rounder and captain Ben Stokes, who looked to injure himself while out playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) not too long ago, as well as legendary fast bowler Jimmy Anderson’s health also a doubt.

While the likes of Stokes and Anderson are expected to be fit enough to play, it remains to be seen whether or not they will both be in full health to lead England against their bitter rivals on home soil, something the former did so admirably well last time out.

Jack Leach’s absence is a cruel blow to England

The loss of Leach will certainly be felt throughout the squad, and even in the opposition camp as Australia star Steve Smith spoke recently about how England may struggle to fill the void left by Leach after he starred with and without the ball in his hands last time in the home Ashes series.

It was indeed Leach who starred in the crease alongside Stokes when the captain led the charge to produce an unlikely match win against the Aussies, although he was helped by Leach’s intelligent batting, despite only scoring one run during his time batting.

Brendon McCullum and Stokes will now be tasked with replacing Leach – who took four wickets during the test against Ireland in which he sustained his injury – which is just yet another bowling headache after Jofra Archer was indefinitely ruled out.

The only two specialist slow-bowlers to have earned caps during Stoke’s captaincy are Rehan Ahmed and Matt Parkinson, respectively, so it looks to be slim pickings for England heading into the summer.

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Written by

Aaron Hindhaugh

Qualified and experienced journalist covering all aspects of news and sport. Specialist in both Men's and Women's football with increasing coverage of golf and tennis.