Do not essentially must be fast in air to achieve success in India: Jack Leach

Chennai, February 1

Bowling quicker in the air brought success to Monty Panesar in the 2012 tour of India but England left-arm spinner Jack Leach feels the same tactic may not work for him in his maiden series against the mighty hosts.

Panesar and Graeme Swann bowled quicker than their Indian counterparts in 2012, engineering a famous away Test series win for England. But Leach said he would like to stick to his strengths.

“Monty and Swann are two bowlers I love to watch. I watch a lot of spin videos to try and take things from the spinners. Monty bowled at a quicker pace in India and that could be very tricky on a spinning wicket,” said Leach in an online media interaction after the team completed its six-day quarantine here ahead of the first Test beginning on Friday. 

“I am probably not going to be bowling the same speed. It is probably more about how the ball gets to the batsman in terms of trajectory. There have been other successful bowlers who didn’t bowl as fast as Monty did.

“It is about sticking to my strengths and knowing my optimum pace and then going up and down a little bit from there. Everyone has an optimum pace. It’s important to stick to that as much as possible,” said Leach who took 10 wickets in the recent series in Sri Lanka.

Bowling in India is as tough as it gets for a visiting spinner but Leach is looking forward to the “ultimate” challenge.

“They are obviously a quality side and have come back off a great win in Australia, but I think it is just a great opportunity for all of us to test ourselves against probably the best side in the world, and to do that here in India … my first time in India.

“This is what dream you have, to come to places like these. Obviously, it is a fantastic opportunity, and I want to enjoy,” said the 29-year-old from Somerset.

He may not bowl as quick as Panesar did but a fellow left-arm spinner doing well in India does inspire a lot of confidence.

“I definitely think I can make an impact in this series, obviously we have got three days training and I am not sure what the wicket is going to be like or anything, so not looking too far ahead…

“…but definitively want to make an impact and they have got quite a lot of right-handers, so I see that as a good thing for me,” said Leach, who has so far played 12 Tests for England.

Will he fancy bowling the leg-stump line from over the wicket, something Ashley Giles did in the 2001 series in India?

“That is something we have talked about in Sri Lanka. Definitely, I guess change in our angles… Bowling over the wicket, for him, for his action, I prefer to bowl round the wicket.

“I feel I have got more dismissals in play and I guess change something just because someone else did it, I think it is sticking to your strengths, and doing that, so it might be something we can use at some point for sure.”          

Leach said he was not thinking about becoming the No. 1 spinner in the team with a good showing against India and just wants to build on the success he enjoyed in Sri Lanka. 

“I think it has been a long time not playing and in that time I did a lot of work, to try and become the bowler I guess I want to be. I feel that it is all in there and just need to bring out now and Sri Lanka was a good start and I felt like I am going in right direction,” Leach added. PTI

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