Young spinner Shoaib Basheer is on the verge of making his Test debut in the second Test against India as England’s Jack Leach is likely to miss the match due to a knee injury sustained in the first Test. Leach injured his left knee while fielding in Hyderabad but managed to bowl 10 overs in the second innings as England secured a 28-run victory.
Despite participating in Wednesday’s training session, Leach refrained from bowling, raising concerns about his fitness for the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
England opener Zak Crawley commented on Leach’s situation, saying, “He’s a tough cookie. You can never write him off. He had a sore knee in the last game, and we’ll see how he pulls up. At the moment, he’s still in contention to play.” Crawley acknowledged the potential loss of Leach but expressed confidence in England’s bowling depth.
If Leach is unable to play, the uncapped off-spinner Shoaib Basheer, aged 20, might make his debut. Basheer joined the England squad during the first Test after resolving a delayed visa issue. Despite his limited experience in first-class cricket, England sees potential in Basheer, similar to the surprise selection of Tom Hartley, who impressed in the second Test with figures of 7-62.
Zak Crawley believes that Basheer is ready for the challenge if called upon in Visakhapatnam. “He’s a great kid. He’s got a lot about him. He knows what he is trying to do with his bowling, and he backs himself. I like that and feel like if he got his chance in this series, he would go well.”
The potential inclusion of Basheer would give England a spin-heavy attack, featuring three frontline spinners, including Hartley and Ahmed. The final decision on Leach’s participation is yet to be confirmed as England prepares for the crucial second Test against India.