Jack Leach: Mark Butcher on how the England spinner has gone from ‘last resort’ to ‘main part’ | cricket news

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Watch all the scalps on Jack Leach’s 10-match tour for England v New Zealand at Headingley

Watch all the scalps on Jack Leach’s 10-match tour for England v New Zealand at Headingley

England spinner Jack Leach is toasting a 10-wicket opener in Test cricket, and he clearly loves life under new skipper Ben Stokes.

Leach endured a difficult winter, like most of the England Test squad, to be fair, with Australia dishing out particular punishment to the slow left arm during The Ashes.

However, the 31-year-old followed up his first five-wicket haul in England early in the third Test against New Zealand at Headingley with another on day four as his fortunes continued to change.

Leach talks playing with Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum and working with spin coach Jeetan Patel

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Leach talks playing with Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum and working with spin coach Jeetan Patel

Leach talks playing with Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum and working with spin coach Jeetan Patel

leaching said Sky Sports Cricket: “[Under Stokes] it’s really attacking and I really enjoy bowling offensively.

“Stokesy’s confidence in his decisions, but also in us as players, I have never experienced anything like this.

“It’s very special to be a part of and that’s thanks to Stokesy and Baz (test coach Brendon McCullum) for putting it together.”

Butcher: Leach has proven me wrong.

Sky Sports Cricket’s Mark Butcher discusses where Leach is improving; the impact Stokes is having on his game; and why bowling coach Jeetan Patel also deserves applause…

“I watched Leach struggle through 90-plus overs in the West Indies on an old flat deck in Barbados earlier this year and wondered if he would ever have enough cunning and skill to survive Test cricket.

Mark Butcher says Leach has learned to reward wickets on pitches without wacky spins

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Mark Butcher says Leach has learned to reward wickets on pitches without wacky spins

Mark Butcher says Leach has learned to reward wickets on pitches without wacky spins

“He’s proven me wrong and probably a lot of other people wrong. He’s encountered skids, dips, sharp turns at times and he has the knack to be able to throw the delivery that continues with his arm.”

“I know it’s been a work in progress. Jeetan Patel said: ‘It’s coming up, Jack is working on things, he knows he has to if he’s going to be successful in Test cricket.’ Well, it fell into place here at Headingley .

“The work in progress has been about trying to get a little more control, a little less arm high, a little more drift to and from righties, trying to get a little more spin on the stock delivery. instead of sending flying saucers undermining them.

“Jack has always been accurate and has won wickets on spins at places like Taunton. The question has been whether he has the skill and guile to be able to fool batsmen on flats in Test cricket without the ball spinning at an angle. straight. He has here .”

Butcher: Stokes has given Leach confidence

“All players are human and all human beings like to feel valued. Perhaps in the past you have been treated like the last turkey in the store, literally the last resort.

“Once all the closers have had a couple of spells each, are flagging a bit and the ball has stopped moving, then England could put everyone on the edge, give the ball to Leach and see what happens.

I really enjoy working with Stokesy. I say what about the middle of the back and he says, ‘no!’ It really is attacking and I really enjoy bowling offensively. Stokesy’s confidence in his decisions, but also in us as players: he has never experienced anything like this and it is very special to be part of it.

England Spinner Jack Leach

“Stokes has said ‘no, you’re a big part of how we’re going to win test matches, I need you in the game, I need you to be able to bowl with the field up, what do you have for me?’

“Leach has more than delivered and Jeetan deserves a lot of praise here.

“There are times when he may have run out of patience, thinking the project might not have been moving fast enough, but he and Jack stood their ground, worked hard, and Jack deserved everything he got.”

Sky Sports Cricket's Nasser Hussain believes shorter preparation has helped Leach improve at Test cricket

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Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain believes shorter preparation has helped Leach improve at Test cricket

Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain believes shorter preparation has helped Leach improve at Test cricket

butcher’s mate Sky Sports Cricket Pundits Nasser Hussain added of Leach: “I’m very happy for him as he’s been through the mill, he really has.

“He suffers from Crohn’s disease, he’s had Covid bubbles, he had a concussion at Lord’s, he was under a bit of pressure at Trent Bridge. Moeen Ali is also in the background and would fit right into this regimen with the way he plays. .

“Jack was under a bit of pressure and delivering as he has is brilliant. The biggest tic for Stokes as captain is getting 10 wickets off his left arm at Headingley. That’s outstanding.”

‘Terrific Potts is running the show’

England's Matthew Potts says he is enjoying the opportunity he has been given with the test team.

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England’s Matthew Potts says he is enjoying the opportunity he has been given with the test team.

England’s Matthew Potts says he is enjoying the opportunity he has been given with the test team.

Meanwhile, Matthew Potts has enjoyed an excellent debut series.

The fast-paced Durham will finish him as his side’s leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps, three of which have been New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.

The 23-year-old has impressed with his durability, skill, consistency and confidence.

Butcher added, “Potts has been fantastic. You saw him in his debut and you thought he must be incredibly nervous, but now he’s running the show.”

“He’s been telling Stokes where he wants the fielders, picking which side of the pitch he wants to pack, taking down the best players in the New Zealand lineup.

“He imparts energy to the ball, even when it’s old. People say these Dukes balls are hopeless, out of shape and don’t do what you want them to do.”

“But this young man is throwing nine-plus spells, generating power off the field, making the ball pop over the top, hitting hitters in the glove, cutting the ball from the seam back and forth, all with great stamina and great skill.”

Watch day five of the third and final LV= Insurance Test between England and New Zealand, from Headingley, live on Sky Sports Cricket on Monday. Coverage begins at 10:15, with the first dance at 11:00.

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