England spin bowler Jack Leach will travel back home from England’s tour in India after his knee injury showed no signs of improving in time for the next three Tests.
The squad have been in Abu Dhabi for a short break between the second and third Tests as players met with family members. They will leave for Rajkot in India without Leach, who will undergo rehabilitation back home.
Leach was unavailable for the second Test in Vizag last week, which India won by 106 runs. He picked up the knock– diagnosed as a haematoma– while fielding in the first Test in Hyderabad.
The left-arm bowler’s career has been hampered by a number of health issues, including a lower back fracture which kept him out of last year’s Ashes.
Leach also has Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammatory bowel condition, and contracted sepsis during England’s tour in New Zealand in 2019.
The absence of the first choice spinner at the upcoming Test in Rajkot on Thursday may give young bowler Shoaib Bashir, who is a teammate to Leach at Somerset, the opportunity to prove his ability.
Bashir, who is 20 years old, faced several difficulties in obtaining a visa to get into India due to his Pakistani heritage. The significant delays meant Bashir missed the first Test.
Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed are other spinner alternatives to Leach. Bashir, Hartley and Ahmed have racked up a total of 26 wickets so far.
Joe Root is a fourth spin option.
India will go into the Test without former captain Virat Kohli due to personal reasons. He will also miss the rest of the Tour, having not played the first two Tests.