Yorkshire members will vote later this morning on whether to accept a loan offer from former chairman Colin Graves which would pave the way for his controversial return to Headingley.

Last month the existing board of the debt-ridden club recommended members back a special resolution at Friday’s extraordinary general meeting which, if passed, could ultimately lead to Graves and three associates being appointed to the board and unlock up to £5million in funding.

With time running out to keep the business viable, almost £15million owed to the Graves family trust and a host of other potential investors no longer at the table, the board said it was recommending a loan offer from Graves “having exhausted all other options” in its search for refinancing.

Graves’ reinstatement would represent a divisive move considering the racism scandal which has engulfed Yorkshire in recent years, an episode which partially took place during his first stint in charge.

Earlier this month he apologised to anyone at Yorkshire who had experienced racism, and expressed “profound regret” at the language he had used in a Sky Sports interview last June when he said there had been “a lot of banter”.

Azeem Rafiq, who in 2020 blew the whistle on the racism he experienced at Yorkshire, said Graves’ apology was not something he could accept, adding: “It’s got to be further than just words.”

The special resolution will only pass on Friday if 66 per cent or more of members vote in favour. Sources have told the PA news agency there is a concerted mobilisation against Graves, but it remains to be seen whether that will be sufficient to block his return.

Even if the resolution does pass, his reinstatement will still be subject to the Financial Conduct Authority approving the rule changes contained within the special resolution.

Graves said in a statement on Thursday: “Yorkshire members will vote tomorrow at the EGM on whether to ratify the board’s decision to accept my offer to the club.

“If, as I very much hope in the best interests of YCCC they do so, we will have to await the regulatory approval of the offer from the Financial Conduct Authority before forming a new board.

“The immediate responsibilities of that new board will be to elect a new Chairman and then begin work to resolve the YCCC financial situation.

“In the meantime, I will not be making any further comment.”

Shoaib Bashir made a memorable start to his England career, dismissing India captain Rohit Sharma on the first morning of the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

The 20-year-old off-spinner only arrived in the country six days ago, his visa application held up due to his Pakistani heritage, but was handed a debut in place of the injured Jack Leach.

Bashir claimed the first wicket of the morning session when Sharma flicked a catch to Ollie Pope, roaring in excitement and clenching both fists in celebration.

But it was hard work for the tourists after losing the toss on a good batting pitch, with India reaching 103 for two after James Anderson removed Shubman Gill just before lunch.

Yashavi Jaiswal led the way with 51 not out, biding his time and picking off bad balls as he collected six fours and a six.

Anderson, recalled in place of Mark Wood as the solitary seamer, kicked things off after Ben Stokes lost the toss and allowed just six runs from his first five overs.

The 41-year-old, who made his Test debut five months before Bashir was born, beat the bat a couple of times but the early signs suggested a flat track.

Joe Root shared the new ball but was unable to make his match-up with the left-handed Jaiswal pay off and soon made way for Bashir. The newcomer came to the crease with just 10 first-class wickets to his name across six matches, but quickly settled into a groove.

After three tidy overs he struck midway through his fourth, Sharma following a drifting ball and turning it to leg-slip after an unusually quiet 14 from 41 deliveries. Bashir’s team-mates thronged as he took in the moment, but with Jaiswal settling to his task there was plenty still to do.

Tom Hartley, England’s seven-wicket hero in Hyderabad, started steadily but was unable to create a chance and began to over-pitch as he searched for a breakthrough. Bashir held an end for 10 straight overs, erring only when he sent down a full toss which Jaiswal flogged for six.

Anderson got his side back into the fight in his second spell, taking Gill’s outside edge for 34 as Ben Foakes dived in front of slip to take the catch.

Shoaib Bashir made a memorable start to his England career, dismissing India captain Rohit Sharma on the first morning of the second Test in Visakhapatnam.

The 20-year-old off-spinner only arrived in the country six days ago, his visa application held up due to his Pakistani heritage, but was handed a debut in place of the injured Jack Leach.

Bashir claimed the first wicket of the morning session when Sharma flicked a catch to Ollie Pope, roaring in excitement and clenching both fists in celebration.

But it was hard work for the tourists after losing the toss on a good batting pitch, with India reaching 103 for two after James Anderson removed Shubman Gill just before lunch.

Yashavi Jaiswal led the way with 51 not out, biding his time and picking off bad balls as he collected six fours and a six.

Anderson, recalled in place of Mark Wood as the solitary seamer, kicked things off after Ben Stokes lost the toss and allowed just six runs from his first five overs.

The 41-year-old, who made his Test debut five months before Bashir was born, beat the bat a couple of times but the early signs suggested a flat track.

Joe Root shared the new ball but was unable to make his match-up with the left-handed Jaiswal pay off and soon made way for Bashir. The newcomer came to the crease with just 10 first-class wickets to his name across six matches, but quickly settled into a groove.

After three tidy overs he struck midway through his fourth, Sharma following a drifting ball and turning it to leg-slip after an unusually quiet 14 from 41 deliveries. Bashir’s team-mates thronged as he took in the moment, but with Jaiswal settling to his task there was plenty still to do.

Tom Hartley, England’s seven-wicket hero in Hyderabad, started steadily but was unable to create a chance and began to over-pitch as he searched for a breakthrough. Bashir held an end for 10 straight overs, erring only when he sent down a full toss which Jaiswal flogged for six.

Anderson got his side back into the fight in his second spell, taking Gill’s outside edge for 34 as Ben Foakes dived in front of slip to take the catch.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) proudly announces the upgrade of Shamar Joseph from his current Franchise contract to a CWI International retainer contract. This decision comes in recognition of Joseph's outstanding performance and invaluable contribution to the recent historic victory against Australia on their home soil in Brisbane, marking Australia's first defeat to the West Indies since 1997.

Enoch Lewis, CWI Director and Chair of the Cricket Development and Performance Committee expressed, "As exhilarated as we are, it is also dutiful to elevate Shamar Joseph to a CWI International retainer contract. His extraordinary talent and steadfast dedication serve as the cornerstone of our team's recent triumph at the Gabba, and such promise merits its due recognition. Shamar has not just been rewarded with a retained contract he has earned it.”

"Shamar Joseph's remarkable debut series showcased his prowess with 13 wickets in two matches, including a match-winning spell of 7 for 68 in the decisive second test. His performance, coupled with his dedication, exemplifies the spirit of West Indies cricket."

Director of Cricket, Miles Bascombe, remarked, "Shamar's elevation to a CWI International retainer contract reflects his potential and the bright future ahead for West Indies cricket. We have also offered Chemar Holder a franchise contract as we double down on securing the best fast-bowling talent available. We are excited to see both men continue to excel.”

"With these contract upgrades, CWI reaffirms its commitment to nurturing talent and fostering excellence within the team. Shamar Joseph's journey exemplifies the promising future of West Indies cricket, and we look forward to his continued success. Meanwhile, we will continue to support Chemar Holder who returned from injury rehabilitation and has shown signs of eagerness to be reintegrated at the highest level.”

The full list of Men’s International retainers for 2023/24 are:

CONTRACTED PLAYERS

West Indies Men

  1. Alick Athanaze
  2. Kraigg Brathwaite
  3. Keacy Carty
  4. Tagenarine Chanderpaul
  5. Joshua Da Silva
  6. Shai Hope
  7. Akeal Hosein
  8. Alzarri Joseph
  9. Shamar Joseph
  10. Brandon King
  11. Gudakesh Motie
  12. Rovman Powell
  13. Kemar Roach
  14. Jayden Seales
  15. Romario Shepherd

 

West Indies wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva has taken the reins from Darren Bravo and will captain the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force for the upcoming West Indies Championship.

Having led the West Indies ‘A’ team on their tour to South Africa late last year, Da Silva isn’t new to the captaincy. However, he will have to also step up with the bat in the absence of Bravo, who was the leading batter for the Red Force last year.

Meanwhile, Bryan Charles was named vice-captain of the squad which includes fit-again pacers Jayden Seales and Terrance Hinds as well as veterans Imran Khan and Jason Mohammed.

T&T will open their campaign against defending champions Guyana Harpy Eagles at Conaree Cricket Ground in St Kitts from February 7-10 before facing the West Indies Academy at the same venue from February 14-17.

T&T will complete their St Kitts leg of the tournament on February 21-24 against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Warner Park before returning to Trinidad for two matches in March at Queen’s Park Oval.

On March 13-16, T&T will face the Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Oval before facing Barbados Pride at the same venue later that month.

The Red Force will then travel to Jamaica to face CCC from April 10-13 at Chedwin Park before ending their campaign against hosts Jamaica Scorpions from April 17-20 at Sabina Park.

The Red Force will leave for St Kitts on Sunday where they will play three matches starting next Wednesday.

RED FORCE SQUAD:

Joshua Da Silva (captain), Bryan Charles (vice-captain), Amir Jangoo, Imran Khan, Terrance Hinds, Jason Mohammed, Jyd Goolie, Jayden Seales, Anderson Phillip, Vikash Mohan, Cephas Cooper, Tion Webster, Khary Pierre.

Sebastien Edwards (manager), David Furlonge (coach), Rayad Emrit (assistant coach), Ruel Rigsby (physio), Shane Burnett (S&C coach).

 

West Indies fast bowler Shamar Joseph, recently signed by Pakistan Super League franchise Peshawar Zalmi, finds himself in the spotlight as a potential replacement for the injured Tom Curran in the upcoming IPL 2024 season. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are reportedly eyeing Joseph to fill the void left by Curran, who is nursing a severe knee injury.

Tom Curran's misfortune began during his stint with Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League, where a knee injury forced him out of the season. The English all-rounder has been absent from Desert Vipers' ILT20 2024 campaign, and now, he has withdrawn from the Pakistan Super League due to the severity of the injury.

RCB, having secured Curran, are actively seeking a replacement for the upcoming IPL season. Shamar Joseph, the new Test sensation who recently signed with Peshawar Zalmi for the 2024 PSL season, has emerged as a potential candidate. Joseph's toe injury, sustained during the second Test against Australia, has unfortunately ruled him out of the ILT20.

Shamar Joseph's recent stellar performance at the Gabba, where he claimed seven wickets to secure a historic eight-run victory for West Indies over Australia, has only heightened the interest in his potential IPL debut. With 13 wickets in the series at an impressive average of 17.31, Joseph has showcased his pace and ability to generate bounce, making him a valuable asset in any cricketing format.

In the wake of Shamar Joseph's stellar performance in the just-concluded two-Test series against Australia, West Indies' white-ball coach, Darren Sammy, finds himself grappling with a welcome selection headache.

Joseph, the hero of the historic Test victory at the Gabba, where he took 7 for 68, has set tongues wagging with his remarkable debut in the longer format of the game.

The young bowler had already announced his arrival in style by claiming a maiden five-wicket haul in his debut Test in Adelaide, a feat that included dismissing none other than Steven Smith with his very first ball in Test cricket. The cricketing world couldn't help but take notice of Joseph's incredible talent and composure on the grand stage.

Despite Joseph's absence from the initial white-ball squads for the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia, Sammy is eager to integrate the Test hero into the T20 and ODI squads. While Joseph has limited experience in T20 cricket, having played only two matches and yet to take a wicket in the format, Sammy sees him as a potential all-format star for the West Indies.

"He will definitely be an all-format player," asserted Sammy. "I can't wait to get my hands on him in this squad. But look, everything has a process to it. That's the way myself and the chairman of selectors operate. What he's done, he's created a really good headache for me with the World Cup coming up, building forward in the ODI team."

 

England are ready to play the generation game after pairing 20-year-old debutant Shoaib Bashir and 41-year-old seamer James Anderson for the second Test in India.

Bashir, who has been fast-tracked into the XI after just six first-class appearances and 10 wickets, was born five months after Anderson won his first cap at Lord’s in May 2003.

The duo come into a winning team at Visakhapatnam on Friday, with the young off-spinner replacing the injured Jack Leach and the country’s record wicket-taker in for Mark Wood.

Bashir will be the 99th player to make their England debut since Anderson made his bow against Zimbabwe more than two decades ago. Numbers 98 and 96, Tom Hartley and Rehan Ahmed, are the men to join Bashir in a three-pronged spin attack boasting just three Tests between them.

Solitary seamer Anderson is on hand to make up for their collective lack of experience as he lines up for the 184th time.

Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have made fearless selections a hallmark of their reign as captain and coach but, emboldened by their stirring 28-run success in Hyderabad, this is their boldest move yet.

Yet Stokes, who was first alerted to Bashir’s promise via a social media clip of him bowling at Sir Alastair Cook, insisted it was a straightforward call.

“Bash coming in for Leachy was a simple one: one spinner out, one spinner in,” he said.

“Baz told him. So, when I went up to him, I knew that he knew and he just gave me a big hug. He looked very excited. I’m fully backing him and looking forward to hopefully putting on a grand show.”

Bashir impressed England during their recent training camp in Abu Dhabi and looked assured enough for Stokes to treat his delayed arrival in India, caused by visa hold-ups related to his Pakistani heritage, a non-factor.

Brushing off the disruption of his unplanned trip back to the embassy in London, he added: “There’s no issues for me that he’s been away from the group for a period of time, then come back in to make his debut. It’s not like he’s forgotten how to bowl.”

Sitting at the other end of the spectrum is Anderson, setting out on his 22nd calendar year of international cricket and his first outing since the retirement of long-time partner Stuart Broad.

He showcased his undimmed desire to play a part by throwing himself into substitute fielder duties on the final day of the first Test.

“It’s great that Jimmy is doing good things for the old boys out there,” said Stokes with a smile.

“It’s huge credit to him and lots of people should look up to Jimmy considering he is where he is at 41. Bringing in Jimmy’s experience, and the class that he has, is great for us and I think it also goes under the radar how good his record in India is.

“Considering what Jimmy is known for – ‘the swing king’ and all that – it just proves how good a bowler he is. Taking nothing away from Woody, we just feel like there’s a bit more I can turn to him for. It’s not just picking Jimmy for the new ball, it’s everything else he possesses – his reverse skills, his off-cutter skills and stuff like that.”

Stokes is playing in India as a specialist batter but bowled gently during Thursday’s practice session for the first time since undergoing knee surgery. He plans to return as a fully functioning bowling option during the English summer, when Joe Root’s newfound status as the side’s top-rated all-rounder – as confirmed by the latest ICC rankings – could come under threat.

“I’m surprised but he’s not actually mentioned he’s nipped above me,” Stokes said.

“I always said to Joe he underbowled himself as captain. I told him ‘I’ll make a bowler out of you!'”

Shoaib Bashir will make his international debut in England’s second Test against India after fellow Somerset spinner Jack Leach was ruled out through injury.

Record wicket-taker James Anderson also comes into the side in Visakhapatnam instead of Mark Wood as England look to build on their brilliant victory in Hyderabad.

Visa issues meant Bashir racked up 10,000 unwanted air miles shuttling between Abu Dhabi, London and Hyderabad, where he arrived just in time to take in the final day of England’s win.

The 20-year-old has taken just 10 first-class wickets in six games at an average of 67, while Leach’s absence means England’s three specialist spinners have three caps between them, with two for Rehan Ahmed and one for Tom Hartley.

England captain Ben Stokes first floated the possibility of Bashir featuring on the tour of India six months ago after watching a video montage of him bowling to Sir Alastair Cook on his first Somerset appearance.

“To be perfectly honest, our training camp in Abu Dhabi was the first real live look I got at Bash,” Stokes admitted.

“The first time I saw him was on Twitter. I think the County Championship put a little clip together of him bowling against Sir Alastair.

“I just saw something. With the height he bowled from, it was very obvious that he put a lot of action, a lot of revolutions, on the ball.”

Having watched the Kraigg Brathwaite-captained Test team defy the odds in the second of their two-match series against Australia, West Indies One-Day International captain Shai Hope is optimistic that his unit will not only continue that momentum, but more importantly, replicate the feat in their three-match series.

There was much talk about the Test team and its seven uncapped players, among them rising fast bowler Shamar Joseph, who braved a toe injury to snare a seven-wicket haul and lead West Indies to a famous eight-run win –their first in Australia in 27 years.

With the excitement of that victory still very much fresh in the air, Hope and is unit, which includes five players from the Test squad, is intent on extending the celebrations.

The three-match series bowls off on Thursday at 10:30pm.

“It was a very inspiring win that they had in the last Test. It’s great momentum for us, of course it’s a different format, but great signs for us to continue what happened in the last Test in this ODI series,” Hope said in a pre-game press conference.

“It (the mood in the camp) is pretty good. Everyone's up and ready to roll. Seeing some of these grounds here in Australia, that in itself (makes you) want to play cricket so the guys are upbeat and ready to go,” he added.

It was a mixed bag for West Indies last year where results are concerned with their failed World Cup qualifying campaign and a loss to India at the height of their disappointments. However, they rebounded with 3-0 and 2-1 series victories over United Arab Emirates (UAE) and England, followed by a stalemate with South Africa.

Despite the fact that they have won seven of 12 ODIs last year, Hope is mindful that West Indies is yet to beat Australia in a series in almost three decades.

“Like we always say in the dressing room, every game matters, not necessarily about series or an opponent. You have to take every single game as a final and it's nice to see that the guys are really taken to the new system and the we're trying to play our cricket. So yeah, it's just one game at a time and then the results will take care of themselves,” Hope noted.

That said, Hope welcomed the challenge for his fairly inexperienced squad, which includes eight players with 10 or less ODIs under their belts, as they commence the rebuilding phase to towards possible qualification for the next ODI World Cup in four years. Teddy Bishop and Tevin Imlach are both uncapped.

“Yeah, it's I think it's great to widen that pool and what is a better way to start a career than here in Australia for some of the guys. But yes, I think four years seems like a long time, but it really isn't and as much games as these guys can play over that span, I think it's going to widen the pool and then give us a headache when that time comes to hopefully select a strong squad, and then they would also gain a lot more experience with that time,” Hope, who has been at the helm for almost a year declared.

WEST INDIES – Shai Hope (captain), Alzarri Joseph, Alick Athanaze, Teddy Bishop, Keacy Carty, Roston Chase, Matthew Forde, Justin Greaves, Kavem Hodge, Tevin Imlach, Gudakesh Motie, Kjorn Ottley, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.

AUSTRALIA – Steve Smith (captain), Travis Head, Sean Abbott, Xavier Bartlett, Nathan Ellis, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Cameron Green, Aaron Hardie, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Matt Short, Adam Zampa

Jack Leach has been ruled out of England’s second Test against India, pushing Somerset team-mate Shoaib Bashir one step closer to an international debut.

England will settle on their XI for Friday’s match in Visakhapatnam after taking a final look at the pitch, but will need to rethink in the absence of their senior spinner.

The 32-year-old was in visible discomfort for most of England’s remarkable victory in the first Test, where he played a restricted role, and finally gave in to the inevitable after sitting out Wednesday’s training session with bruising and swelling on his left knee.

“He’s ruled out of the second Test. Unfortunately the knock he took resulted in a haematoma,” said captain Ben Stokes, who hailed Leach as a “warrior” last week for struggling though the series-opener.

“It’s a big shame for us and a big shame for him. It’s something we’re assessing every day but the medical team have taken over on that so hopefully it’s not something too serious that keeps him out for longer.”

While Leach was an onlooker at nets, 20-year-old Bashir joined in for the first time since complications over his visa application were resolved.

Bashir racked up 10,000 unwanted air miles shuttling between Abu Dhabi, London and Hyderabad, where he arrived just in time to take in the final day of England’s audacious victory, and is now in the selection mix.

Record wicket-taker James Anderson is pushing hard for a recall, alongside or instead of fellow seamer Mark Wood, while Rehan Ahmed’s role could come into question after a quiet game with the ball.

But the fact that Bashir, who has a gossamer-thin first-class record of 10 wickets in six games at an average of 67, is being discussed shows just how far Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum are willing to push the envelope.

The success of the inexperienced Tom Hartley on debut last week, taking a second-innings seven-for to send his side 1-0 up, can only have emboldened Stokes.

It was him who first floated the youngster’s name six months ago after watching a video montage of Bashir bowling to former England captain Sir Alastair Cook on his first Somerset appearance.

“To be perfectly honest, our training camp in Abu Dhabi was the first real live look I got at Bash,” Stokes said.

“The first time I saw him was on Twitter. I think the County Championship put a little clip together of him bowling against Sir Alastair.

“I just saw something. With the height he bowled from, it was very obvious that he put a lot of action, a lot of revolutions, on the ball.

“I’m in a WhatsApp group with (director of cricket) Rob Key and Baz (McCullum). So I actually did forward the clip on and said, ‘Have a look at this, this could be something we could work with on our India tour’. It just progressed from there.”

Stokes realises how raw Bashir is and takes the responsibility of managing his fast-tracking to the international arena seriously.

“He’s a young kid who’s finding his way… I was about to say he’s finding his way in first-class cricket, but he’s on a Test tour now,” he said.

“He’s a real sponge at the moment and I think that’s because of how young he is. He’s got an unbelievable coach here in Jeetan Patel and he’s also got someone in Jack leach who is a massive help, particularly with their Somerset connection.

“If he was to play on this tour, the great thing he has going for him is what is there to lose? That is how I will be thinking about it if he gets the chance to play.

“Just make sure I give him the best experience I possibly can because you only play your first Test once. If he does play then I’ll be trying to make it as fun and enjoyable for him as I can.”

Cricket fans around the West Indies are being urged to register for the public ticket ballot as they prepare to be part of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024.

Fawwaz Baskh, the Tournament Director, reached out to the regional fan base to encourage the supporters to make wise use of the available window which will allow them to pre-register for tickets.

“Everyone is eagerly looking forward to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, this is the biggest event to be staged in the West Indies. It will feature the best players in the world, and as a result, the eyes of the sporting world will be on our countries in this region and the USA,” Baskh said.

“There will be a great demand for tickets as cricket lovers worldwide want to get this golden opportunity to see their favorite players. This will be a truly world-class event – at a level never before seen in our region – and fans will enjoy the amazing atmosphere and entertainment that is in store.

“We want to encourage our ‘hometown’ fans to join the public ticket ballot and give themselves every opportunity to secure the best seats and be part of an amazing event on their shores,” he added.

Ten of the 20 teams will play their first match of the 29-day tournament in the USA – with 16 games to be held in Lauderhill, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and Nassau County, New York.

The remaining 39 matches will be played in the Caribbean across six different countries, with semi-finals to be played in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago on June 26 and 27 respectively, and the title decider to be played in Barbados on Saturday June 29.

Details on the public ticket ballot will be shared in the coming days. The start time for games will vary from venue to venue, for tournament details fans can visit www.t20worldcup.com.

West Indies fast-bowling sensation Shamar Joseph has jumped a massive 42 spots up the ICC Men’s Test rankings this week to sit joint 50th on the list.

Joseph, whose breathtaking performances in the recently-concluded two Test series against Australia earned him the Player of the series award, was instrumental in the regional side's historic second Test win against the World Champions. He took five wickets for 94 runs in the first encounter, which Australia won by 10 wickets and seven wickets for 68 runs in West Indies' famous eight-run win.

The 24-year-old Joseph and his pace partners all secured ranking upgrades, as Kemar Roach moved two places up to 17th and Alzarri Joseph inched four places up to 33rd. New Zealand’s Kane Williamson remains the Number one batsman ahead of England’s Joe Root and Australian Steve Smith, while the bowling list is headed by Indian Ravi Ashwin followed by South African Kagiso Rabada and Australia's captain Pat Cummins.

All-rounders Jason Holder, ranked at seventh, and 10th-ranked Kyle Mayers, the highest rated West Indies players on the all-rounders’ list, did not play against Australia in the recent series. India’s Ravi Jadeja heads that list.

Jack Leach looks increasingly doubtful for England’s second Test in India after sitting out the first training session in Visakhapatnam.

Leach did not take part in the tourists’ net practice on Wednesday, joining his team-mates at the ground solely to receive treatment on his left knee injury.

The Somerset spinner picked up the problem when he jarred his leg while fielding on the first day of England’s remarkable victory in the series opener and later aggravated it as he tried to play through the pain.

Despite suffering from bad bruising and swelling around the joint, he continued to play a reduced role in Hyderabad, contributing the wicket of Shreyas Iyer as the tourists pressed for the win.

But he was visibly limping as he watched the squad go through their paces ahead of Friday’s clash and would need to rally quickly to have any chance of being considered.

Captain Ben Stokes hailed Leach as a “warrior” for battling through last week and opener batter Zak Crawley is not ruling out an unexpected recovery.

“He’s a tough kid, Leachy, so I’m not sure. You never know with Jack,” he said.

“You can never really write him off. We’ll see how he pulls up in a couple of days.”

While his injury looks set to scotch head coach Brendon McCullum’s mischievous suggestion that England could all of their spinners in a seam-free attack, it does raise the chances of a debut for his Taunton team-mate Shoaib Bashir.

The 20-year-old, who has just six first-class caps and 10 career wickets to his name, was a belated arrival in India after visa complications related to his Pakistani heritage forced him to return home to London.

But, after banking some unwanted air miles, he is back with the squad and played a full part in training. Rehan Ahmed, the leg-spinning all-rounder, sat out the optional session but is understood to be fully fit.

Despite Bashir’s gossamer-thin track record, he impressed during the pre-series training camp in Abu Dhabi. Tom Hartley’s nine wickets on debut in Hyderabad, meanwhile, are unlikely to deter England from backing another hunch.

“He’s a great kid. He’s got a lot about him,” Crawley said.

“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.”

India have had injury problems of their own, losing the world’s number one all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and KL Rahul after the first Test.

Their most glaring absentee remains Virat Kohli, who top-scored with 167 when England played their only previous Test in Visakhapatnam seven years ago, and remains unavailable due to personal reasons.

There is a growing feeling that the wind is blowing in England’s direction but Crawley, who was part of the side who went from 1-0 up to a 3-1 defeat here in 2021, is keen to not get carried away.

“Whoever they pick, they’re going to be a very good team,” he said. “They’re a top side in their own conditions.

“There’s four games left and we need to stick to what we do well. Hopefully the results come from there but we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves.

“We’re preparing for this one like it’s the first game, we’re staying where our feet are and we’ll see where that takes us.”

England are ready for anything India’s groundstaff throw at them in the coming weeks, with wicketkeeper Ben Foakes recalling the “horrific wickets” that greeted them on their previous Test tour.

The visitors made the short flight from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, still basking in their stunning first-Test victory but with minds already turning to their next assignment.

Three years ago they found themselves in a similar position, 1-0 up after winning the series opener, and proceeded to lose the next three by crushing margins as the pitches in Chennai and Ahmedabad offered extravagant turn from the off.

With India’s spinners running riot, England had a top score of 205 in six innings, and it would be no great surprise if the hosts attempted to serve up similar surfaces after their shock defeat last time out.

Foakes was part of the side that was bamboozled on bone dry tracks in 2021 and remembers the trip with a grimace.

“The last time we were here all three were probably the worst pitches I’ve batted on,” said Foakes.

“From memory that first Test was played on a flat wicket and then they went to raging bunsens (turners). Going into that, I was thinking ‘oh, these are horrific wickets, I just need to find a way to stay in’.

“I don’t know (if it will be the same again) but it will be interesting to see.”

India captain Rohit Sharma had his say on the matter recently when his side defeated South Africa on a green seamer in Cape Town, telling reporters: “I don’t mind playing on pitches like this as long as everyone keeps their mouth shut in India and doesn’t complain about Indian pitches.”

But just as they found a way to prevail in the Proteas’ own conditions, Foakes feels confident England are now able to win a trial by spin.

It was the tourists who batted best against the turning ball in Hyderabad, with Ollie Pope’s magnificent 196 exemplifying the team’s shared commitment to sweeping, reverse sweeping and ramping.

Debutant spinner Tom Hartley then claimed seven wickets to outshine the home attack, leaving England content that they have the tools to succeed if India lean hard on home comforts again.

“I think the way some of the lads have played it with their sweep shots can definitely counter the extreme spin,” said Foakes.

“Obviously Popey put on a bit of a masterclass in how to do that, so I think quite a few of the lads have a game plan that will do well on those pitches. If that’s the situation you’ve got to be positive, put it back on the bowler and put them under pressure.

“It’s more of a mindset shift of how to go about it because in those conditions the bowler is massive favourite to win the contest so it’s how many blows you can put in.

“Before there was more of a fear of getting out and that put us in our shells. Now there’s not that worrying about getting out.”

Foakes’ appearance in the series opener was his first since the agonising one-run defeat in Wellington almost a year ago. He was dropped for the Ashes, with England restoring the fit-again Jonny Bairstow to keeping duties.

It was not the first time he has found his world-class glovework sacrificed for the team’s balance but he justified his recall.

His second-innings stand of 112 with Pope was the biggest of the match and then he finished a tidy game behind the stumps with two stumpings off Hartley.

“I obviously found it difficult (to miss the Ashes). You go through a few emotions. But there were no hard feelings,” he said.

“It still sucks getting dropped but I have come back a few times. I don’t see it as anything personal: someone picks you or picks someone else. There is no issue or anything like that. You are picked for a job and you come and try to do your best.”

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