Jack Leach: England spinner out of New Zealand Test with concussion


England spinner Jack Leach has been withdrawn from the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s after suffering symptoms of concussion.

The 30-year-old took a heavy fall while chasing a ball to the boundary in the sixth over of the first day.

Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson has been called up as the replacement and will make his Test debut.

The 25-year-old travelled from Manchester and joined the match later on Thursday.

Parkinson, who has played five one-day internationals and four Twenty20s, becomes England’s first concussion substitute in Test cricket.

He was playing for Lancashire in the T20 Blast on Wednesday night.

Slow left-armer Leach was featuring in his first home Test since 2019.

Fielding at point, he chased an edge from Devon Conway off the bowling of Stuart Broad to the third man boundary.

In stopping the ball from reaching the rope, Leach landed awkwardly and received treatment from the medical staff of both teams.

He left the field immediately and was confirmed to be suffering symptoms of concussion after being assessed.

Leach will now undergo a “graduated return to play” over a minimum seven-day period, meaning he is a doubt to be fit for the second Test at Trent Bridge, starting next Friday.

The Somerset bowler has previously suffered concussions – once when he fainted at home and hit his head on a sink and another when he was struck on the head while batting by former South Africa pace bowler Morne Morkel.

The International Cricket Council permitted the use of concussion substitutes in 2019. In the same year, Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute, also at Lord’s, after Steve Smith was struck by England pace bowler Jofra Archer.

Replacements must be like-for-like, so England had to replace Leach with another frontline spinner.