Somerset's Peter Trego hits out at England over handling of team-mate Jack Leach's bowling action

Nick Hoult
Leach was the leading English-qualified spin bowler in county cricket last season with 65 wickets at 21 runs  - Getty Images

England’s treatment of spin bowler Jack Leach last winter has drawn stinging criticism from his Somerset team-mate Peter Trego, who has accused the national team of “hanging him out to dry”.

There was surprise when Leach, the leading English-qualified spin bowler in county cricket with 65 wickets at 21 runs each, was left out of the tour party for India last year. It turned to bemusement when he was again overlooked for the final two Tests when injury forced England to call up another spinner, Hampshire’s Liam Dawson, who, by his own admission, is more of a batsman and took a modest 22 championship wickets last year.

England only confirmed after it was reported in the media during the final Test in Chennai that Leach’s bowling action had failed testing at Loughborough University two months earlier and the reason he had not been picked for India was that they felt he had not undergone enough remedial work.

Trego has hit out, saying: "England missed a trick by not seeing what the lad can do in spinning conditions" Credit: Rex

“It was a terrible shame how the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] handled that situation. It was unique in my memory of sport, the national team hanging a player out to dry instead of admitting they got it wrong by not picking him,” said Trego. “Hopefully they will move on from that and Leachy will not be hampered by the tag the ECB have unfortunately handed him.

“I have watched the kid bowl for the last 10 years and I have never once thought he throws it. It is ludicrous how that came out and I can’t help but think it was a lame excuse for why he was not playing in India.

“He was certainly better than the two guys that did play in India, the stats showed that from last year. As a county player you are given the directive from England to be outstanding and earn your spot. He did that but was robbed of the opportunity to bowl spin in a country conducive for bowling spin. 

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“I worry that Jack might get an opportunity because of the shambles in India but he will be bowling in places not conducive to spin and that is a shame. England missed a trick by not seeing what the lad can do in spinning conditions.”

Leach tweaked his action and was picked for the Lions tour in February, although he missed the first match against Sri Lanka as he took time to adjust to his new method. But since then he has played for the MCC in the champion county match and eased himself into the season in Somerset’s championship opener against Essex last week although ultimately ended up on the receiving end of a masterclass from Alastair Cook in the second innings.

“His action is fine. He is spinning the ball and he is bowling accurately and working hard. He will have grown a thicker skin over the experience he had,” said Trego, speaking at the launch of county cricket’s Royal London Cup. 

“He is ready for the challenge. He is very accurate, he is very good at working out what pace each different pitch requires. On a wicket not offering a huge amount he will be accurate and bowl slightly quicker, so he is not easy to score runs against, but when there is spin offered he has a nice use of flight and guile and puts plenty of revs on the ball. He is still not the finished article but he is a very hardworking lad and I am sure he will get his chance at some stage.”

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