Back after six weeks for Somerset, Jack Leach knows he will have to wait for England Test recall

By Jeremy Blackmore

JACK Leach insists his first priority is to get back into a rhythm by bowling plenty of overs for Somerset before he thinks about regaining his England place.

The slow left-armer returned to competitive cricket last week after a six-week lay-off through injury which saw him miss out on a maiden home Test Match at Lord’s against Pakistan last month.

Leach, 27, who broke the thumb on his bowling hand during practice at Taunton, made his return in the top-of-the-table clash with Surrey at Guildford.

Speaking to The Cricket Paper, Leach said it had felt good to be back out on the field with his teammates and talked about how he used his time out to work on his fitness and develop his game.

“I’ve spent a lot of time working hard on my fitness with our head of strength and conditioning, Joel Tratt. I feel in good shape.

“When you’re not playing, you’re also thinking about how you want to take your game forward when you do get back to playing, so I’ve done some good work.

“I’ve just returned to bowling and feel like I’ve got a good few things to take forward and keep getting better at.”

Leach landed his first ball on the spot on Wednesday, but only bowled four overs during day one as the seamers did the bulk of the work on a green surface. He was keen to reserve judgement on his performance until he had more overs under his belt.

“It’s difficult when you don’t have too much time to get into any rhythm. I had two overs before tea and then two before the new ball, so I don’t want to really judge too much on those. As a spinner you want to get into a rhythm and bowl longer spells.”

Leach made his Test debut against New Zealand in the winter. For now, thoughts of an England recall are not in his mind. “My first priority is getting back into a rhythm at Somerset.

“To do that I’ve got to bowl a lot of overs, so I can’t really think too far ahead. Playing for England is not going to happen without putting in performances for Somerset, so I’m not really thinking about that.”

Leach’s misfortune meant a Test call-up for his Somerset spin twin Dom Bess, 20, who scored two enterprising innings of 57 and 49 against Pakistan and took three wickets.

Somerset skipper Tom Abell was delighted to have Leach back alongside Bess in the side at Guildford last week, adding: “Of course, having those two guys is a huge boost for us as individuals with the ball, but also in the field and with the bat. They’re great assets to have.”

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