Former captain Kevin Pietersen insists that spinner Jack Leach be sidelined and seamer Chris Woakes recalled for this week’s fifth and final Ashes series Test at The Oval in London.
Leach struck a near century as nightwatchman during England’s one-off Test against Ireland earlier this year. He also played a key role during a 10th-wicket partnership with centurion Ben Stokes during England’s triumph in the third Ashes series Test at Headingley in Leeds.
The spinner’s primary role with the ball, though, has not been impressive. He has taken eight wickets in the Ashes series at an average of over 30 so far.
‘England are losing an Ashes series and Leach has only taken eight wickets at 30 in three Test matches. It doesn’t look like he’s troubled anyone. It just annoys me,’ Pietersen wrote in a column for Betway.
‘I don’t want to see the crowd talking about how funny he is. I want to see him producing on the field and I want to see him winning matches for England with his bowling. Leach isn’t doing his job.
‘Does he want to be remembered as this funny guy who can hold a bat, or as a match-winner for England?’
Pietersen also questioned the decision to play the inexperienced Craig Overton ahead of Woakes in Manchester, where Australia retained the Ashes title on the back of a 185-run victory.
‘There should still be changes to the team to freshen things up. Woakes needs to come straight back into the team. I don’t know whose brain spark it was to leave Woakes out of the Old Trafford Test, but they probably don’t deserve to be a selector anymore,’ added Pietersen.
Bringing in Overton ahead of Woakes, after everything Woakes has done with the bat, with the ball and after the World Cup he had, was a bad decision. In a Test match that England had to win, that selection was not good enough.’
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