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News

Jack Leach withdrawn from Test after suffering concussion symptoms during fielding incident

Matt Parkinson makes debut as England's first concussion replacement

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
02-Jun-2022
Jack Leach showed signs of concussion after injuring himself while diving to field near the boundary, and had to be subbed out of the match, England vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Day 1, Lord's, June 2, 2022

Jack Leach showed signs of concussion after injuring himself while diving to field near the boundary, and had to be subbed out of the match  •  Getty Images

Jack Leach was withdrawn from the first LV= Insurance Test against New Zealand at Lord's and is a doubt for next week's second Test at Trent Bridge, after suffering concussion symptoms following a heavy fall in the outfield.
Concussion protocols allow for a player to be substituted out of the game so long as the man coming in is a like-for-like replacement. England opted for Matt Parkinson, who arrived at Lord's from Manchester an hour before the close on the first day and can play a full part in the game.
Dom Bess and Moeen Ali, who retired from Test cricket last year but has signalled his willingness to consider a return, were among the other potential call-ups that Parkinson beat to make it to the XI and play his first-ever Test match. The 25-year-old Lancashire legspinner has 126 wickets from 37 first-class games.
Leach, who was playing in his first home Test match since the Ashes in 2019, suffered the injury in the sixth over of the match, as he chased a Devon Conway drive to the backward-point boundary.
As Leach dived, successfully dragging the ball back from the edge of the rope, he landed heavily on his head, and appeared to injure his neck in the process. New Zealand's medical team were the first on the scene, and attended to him for several minutes before he was able to walk from the field of play back to the pavilion.
However, after subsequent examination from the ECB medical team, the decision was taken to withdraw him from the match. "Jack Leach has symptoms of concussion following his head injury whilst fielding," read an ECB statement. "As per concussion guidelines, he has been withdrawn from this Test."
In a subsequent statement, the ECB confirmed that he would be out of action for the next seven days at least in line with protocols, meaning his participation in the Trent Bridge Test, which gets underway on June 10, is in doubt.
"He's a tough character," Matthew Potts, England's debutant, said. "It was a freak thing that can happen. The first thing he said was, 'I'm fine - I saved the four though!' That is testament to his character. He's a tough lad. We said we are going to really hunt the ball down in the field and put in a good fielding display, which we did."
Brendon McCullum, England's new Test coach, had made a point of asking players to keep chasing every ball before this Test. "Brendon said one basic thing for his mindset is: you chase every ball to the boundary as hard as you can until it's at the boundary edge," Stuart Broad said on Tuesday. "That is just a mindset of positivity, all the time - that you are going to give everything to this game."
Parkinson, who has played nine games for England across the white-ball formats, has been a regular member of touring squads over the last two years and believed he was close to making his Test debut in the Caribbean. He has taken 24 wickets at 25.95 in the County Championship this season, the most of any spinner in the country.
"I'm sure he has had an interesting drive down," Potts said. "Receiving that call, I'm sure there will have been a wave of emotions. He can collect his thoughts tonight and approach tomorrow with a clear head rather than coming in very flustered from a freak scenario."
He becomes the second Test cricketer to make a debut as a concussion replacement after Zimbabwe's Brian Mudzinganyama, who replaced Kevin Kasuza against Sri Lanka in early 2020.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket