The Ashes Squad Gets a Boost with the Rehan Ahmed Selection
Before the Lord’s Test, a young legspinner will join the team in London this weekend.
Rehan Ahmed, an 18-year-old legspinner from Leicestershire who made his Test debut in Karachi last year and won a remarkable five-wicket haul, has been named to England’s Test team as a replacement for Moeen Ali, whose performance at Edgbaston was hindered by a burned spinning finger.
Rehan’s selection after a season of modest success for Leicestershire in the County Championship; in 10 appearances, he has taken just six wickets at an average of 67.66. He has, however, distinguished himself for his county by using the bat, scoring 423 runs at a 38.45 average, including four half-centuries and a high of 90 against Glamorgan.
Rehan’s reintroduction to the squad, even if he doesn’t play at Lord’s, can prove that England has no plans to slow down from their quick-paced approach to this Ashes series. Joe Root emphasised this point this week when he urged England supporters to “strap in” for the second Test.
Rehan only played one Test against Pakistan in December, but his second-inning figures of 5 for 48 were crucial in enabling England to sweep the series 3-0. As a result, he was permitted to speed up England’s progress towards an eventual eight-wicket victory when he was put in to bat at No. 3 on the penultimate evening.
Before the second Test begins at Lord’s on June 28, he will meet up with the team in London this weekend.
After a 21-month layoff, Moeen returned to Test cricket because England’s top spinner, Jack Leach, was sidelined for the whole summer due to a back stress fracture.
His return performance was marred by his stats of 3 for 204 and a sore on his right index finger, which cost him a 25 per cent match-fee punishment when he was penalised for applying a drying agent mid-match.
Brendon McCullum, England’s head coach, praised him after the game and said England would do everything possible to get him well for the remainder of the series. It included the vital wicket of Travis Head, Australia’s most aggressive middle-order batter, in both innings.
I have a good feeling that we can reach Moeen’s finger, McCullum remarked. “That will allow us to choose him for the next game, and he will be selected if he is available. Moeen did a terrific job.
Liam Dawson, a spinning all-rounder for Hampshire, who has been in solid form for Hampshire in the County Championship this season and has prior experience entering high-profile squads at short notice after being called up for the 2019 World Cup squad, may have been another option.
Will Jacks, a versatile player for Surrey who played all three positions and took six wickets in his maiden Test innings in Rawalpindi in December, was another option. He also gives many options with the bat and, on Thursday night in the T20 Blast, hit 96 from 45 balls while playing for Surrey against Middlesex.
However, it is known that the selectors preferred a player who turns the ball the other way because of Root’s performance on the last day of the first Test when he bowled 13 overs right up to the second new ball and dismissed Alex Carey in the process.
Rehan has played for England before, despite having no international experience; he also made his T20 and ODI debuts during the team’s March tour of Bangladesh. He was also an essential contributor to the Under-19 team that beat India in the World Cup final in Antigua last year.
When he was summoned down to Lord’s as an 11-year-old to help England’s preparations for playing Pakistan’s legspinner Yasir Shah in that year’s first Test, his precocity initially gained attention. He even removed Ben Stokes and Alastair Cook during his time in the nets.
His abilities even pleased the late Shane Warne, who stated at the time that he would be “playing first-class cricket at the age of 15” when he returned for the Test match against South Africa the following year.
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