Jack Leach set to miss first England v Pakistan Test with broken thumb
James Vince and Mark Wood press England claims with double century and six wickets respectively in County Championship
Last Updated: 19/05/18 4:49pm
Somerset spinner Jack Leach looks set to miss England's first Test against Pakistan with a broken thumb - but James Vince and Mark Wood pressed their claims with a double century and six wickets respectively in the Specsavers County Championship.
Leach was absent from Somerset's attack against Vince's Hampshire on Monday having been struck on his bowling hand during the warm-up ahead of the final day's play in Taunton.
Somerset have confirmed the slow left-armer has suffered a break - no timescale has been put on his return but Leach looks likely to miss the Lord's Test from May 24, the squad for which is announced by new national selector Ed Smith at 3pm on Tuesday.
Vince and Wood, therefore, delivered timely performances, with the former scoring 201 not out and the latter taking 6-46 for Durham against Derbyshire having returned from an IPL stint with Chennai Super Kings.
Leach made his England Test debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in March, taking 2-61 in the Black Caps' second innings having replaced Moeen Ali in the XI, and had been tipped to keep his spot against Pakistan.
Sky Sports Cricket expert Mark Butcher says the loss is a "huge blow" for Joe Root's side - but thinks his absence could lead to the wildcard selection of Surrey's teenage off-spinner Amar Virdi.
"It's a huge blow for Leach personally, and for England's plans," said Butcher. "Moeen Ali had been left out of the side due to a lack of form, with both bat and ball and the selectors felt the time was right to look at a specialist spin bowler - Leach was that man.
"Perhaps it opens the door again for Moeen? He's currently over in the IPL, but hasn't had a great time of it over their either - he has no real form of which to speak of - so could there be someone else coming up on the rails?
"The youngster for Surrey, Amar Virdi, has picked up 17 wickets already in the Championship this season. He looks to have real talent; he bowled Joe Root through the gate in Surrey's win over Yorkshire."
Vince played in six of England's seven Tests this winter in Australia and New Zealand, hitting three fifties in 11 innings with a top score of 83 in the Ashes opener in Brisbane, and averages 24.90 from his 13 Tests in total.
Middlesex opener Nick Gubbins has also been mooted for an England call-up, with Surrey's Mark Stoneman failing to pass thirty in seven knocks for his county so far this season.
Gubbins, in contrast, has hit 107 against Sussex and 99 against Gloucestershire since recovering from a hamstring injury, while he notched back-to-back tons in the North v South Series in Barbados in March.
Wood, meanwhile, returned to the England side for the second Test in New Zealand, taking two wickets in the hosts' second innings after hitting his maiden Test fifty in the visitors' opening knock.