England’s Jack Leach said on Monday it would be a “dream” to make his mark on India’s spin-friendly matches in his maiden tour of the South Asian giant. The Joe Root-led England cricket team will begin their four-Test tour against India – who top the World Test Championship rankings — in Chennai on Friday. Leach claimed 10 wickets with his left-arm spin in his team’s recent 2-0 sweep in neighbouring Sri Lanka, and relished the opportunity to take on a star-studded Indian batting line-up led by skipper Virat Kohli.
“It’s just a great opportunity. They are obviously a quality side that has come at the back of a great win in Australia,” the 29-year-old told reporters via a Zoom call.
“It is a great opportunity for all of us to test ourselves against, on paper, the best side in the world. It is my first time in India. This is what the dream is — to come to places like this to bowl spin.
“In India there’s maybe a bit of pressure with regards to what wickets will be like. India a great side and they have all bases covered. I know I can be effective if I bowl in the right areas and keep my head clear.”
New dad Kohli will return to lead the Indian team, which under Ajinkya Rahane recorded a historic Test series win in Australia last month. Kohli left the four-Test series after the team’s opening loss in Adelaide.
The touring England squad will begin training in Chennai on Tuesday after returning negative Covid-19 tests following six days of quarantine.
Leach said adaptability would be key, with players getting little time to prepare.
“Being able to adapt and go with the flow. Obviously it’s not the ideal prep but it’s been the same for India,” said Leach.
“I have done some reflecting. I have bowled a few in the mirror. Eager to get back tomorrow and some day’s training before the first Test.
“I definitely feel like I can make an impact in the series. We have just 3 days training and we don’t know what the wicket will be like so it’s important to not look too far ahead.”
The Somerset spinner has claimed 44 wickets including two five-wicket hauls in 12 Tests for the national team since making his debut in New Zealand in 2018.