England vs Ireland: Three players who can enhance their Ashes 2019 chances at Lord’s
England play a one-off Test against Ireland at Lord's this week before the five-match Ashes series against Australia begins next month.
With several key names injured and a number of question marks over certain positions in the line-up, the Ireland game provides an opportunity for lesser lights to state their case.
Read more: When do the Ashes 2019 start? 1st Test fixture date, full match schedule and list of venues
Long before Jofra Archer, Stone was England’s original hope of unearthing a young fast bowler capable of regularly breaching 90mph. Picked for last winter’s tours of Sri Lanka and the Caribbean, the 25-year-old was sent home from the latter with a serious back injury. A big impression on his debut at Lord’s would be welcome.
The left-arm spinner took 18 wickets in three Tests in Sri Lanka last winter. With Adil Rashid battling the shoulder injury that affected him throughout the World Cup, the path is clear for Leach to play a part in the Ashes if England go with two slow bowlers in any Test.
The 21-year-old had a stellar breakthrough summer against India last year, particularly with the bat, and his left-arm angle will always be a valuable USP. But the emergence of Archer, re-emergence of Mark Wood – despite both currently being injured – and presence of Stone means there is far more competition for places now.
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