Captain Joe Root has expressed gratitude to former Proteas spinner Simon Harmer, who was enlisted to help England prepare for this week’s Ashes Test at Lord’s in London.
The hosts’ decision to drop all-rounder Moeen Ali left a lack of off-spin in the squad. Harmer was included in this week’s training to effectively mimic the threat posed by Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Lyon took nine wickets in last week’s opener at Edgbaston in Birmingham, where the tourists won comfortably for an early lead in the five-Test series.
Harmer played five Tests in 2015 before forging a career with Essex in the County Championship. He was first-class cricket’s leading wicket-taker last year.
‘I think it’s always good if you get the opportunity with someone who’s had great success in country cricket in recent years,’ said Root.
‘For him to offer up his time and help us prepare was brilliant, a very good gesture from him and from Essex.
‘You want to try and test yourself as much as you can in practice and he certainly helped us do that.’
England have named left-arm spinner Jack Leach in the 12-man squad for the second Test. He or seaming all-rounder Sam Curran will replace Ali in the XI. Fast bowler Jofra Archer is expected to debut in the absence of the injured James Anderson.
Photo: Getty Images