Flower backs Leach to make an impact in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Flower backs Leach to make an impact in Sri Lanka

England Lions coach Andy Flower has backed left-arm spinner Jack Leach to make an impact in Sri Lanka later this year. England are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka later this year for a full tour and Flower, who is overseeing Leach’s development in West Indies recently, believes the 26-year-old is quite handful on tracks that assist spin.

Out of the two games that have been played in the unofficial Test series against Windies, Leach has picked up 14 wickets in three innings despite the home side taking a 2-0 lead. “Selection is not down to me but on pitches that turn, he has shown himself to be very effective and has been the dominant bowler for us,” Flower told The Guardian. “In Sri Lankan conditions and with continued development, there is no reason why he can’t make an impact.”

England’s innings defeat in the second game in Kingston has drawn plenty of criticism but Flower has asked for focus on player development rather than the results. “Most reasonable people understand results are not always connected to resources, otherwise India would win every series they play,” Flower pointed out. “And a big part of the Lions is to give players opportunities to grow and learn. We have lost on big turning pitches and batsmen haven’t coped. So that tells us where they are and informs how we work with them.

“Our top score in four innings is 60 from Paul Coughlin at No 7 and that is not OK. So I am not going to talk about who has been impressive, as no one has been. There have been snippets of class but nothing substantial, nothing to match what West Indies have done. People underestimate them and denigrate them but they are proud performers and have a lot of talent.” The 49-year-old has also called for patience with legspinner Mason Crane’s development after the youngster had a below par series in the Caribbean where the conditions were favourable for spin bowling. Crane, who had a Test debut to forget during the Ashes recently, had a dull series where he picked up a solitary wicket. The pressure on him will now mount when he joins the senior squad for the Test series in New Zealand.

“People should be patient with his development and he should find a balance of pushing himself with high expectations and standards, but also understanding that he is a 21-year-old leg-spinner,” Flower said.

“Just because he’s been picked for the New Zealand series doesn’t necessarily mean he will pull up trees. He’s a confident young guy and I like that he’s combative. But he also knows he has got a lot of learning to do, and overs to get under his belt, to come anywhere near to mastering his very difficult art.”