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County Championship 2024

Shoaib Bashir left out of Somerset XI despite Jack Leach injury

Shoaib Bashir wasn't picked by Somerset
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Shoaib Bashir did not find a spot in Somerset XI for their opening fixture of the 2024 County Championship, despite the unavailability of senior spinner Jack Leach due to injury.

Bashir was expected to feature in an outfit deprived of Leach, who is set to be out of action at least until May, freeing a spot for the 20-year-old. His breakout Test tour of India earlier this year further added to his credentials, making him a likely candidate to feature in a Leach-less first XI.

However, Somerset – who chose to field against Kent – did not pick Bashir for the Division One clash, the start of which was delayed by a day. In an attack packed with seamers, only Lewis Goldsworthy, the 23-year-old former U19 all-rounder with no first-class wickets yet, provided a spin option, along with Matt Renshaw’s off-breaks.

With the pitches early in the season unlikely to offer much help to the spinners, Bashir’s selection gets slightly more complicated, although having the option of an active Test off-spinner would definitely have been tempting, especially with the Kookaburra ball in use.

Bashir’s non-selection puts into perspective Somerset’s indication to consider loaning him, with the idea of developing him. Head coach Jason Kerr, during the India-England Test series, had told PA: “We start the season on April 5 and I’d be surprised if too many teams are playing two specialist spinners. So I understand there will be some questions about it”. At that time, though, Leach wasn’t out of contention.

Alongside Leach, Somerset are also missing the services of Craig Overton and Tom Abell.

Bashir, a shock inclusion for England’s India trip earlier this year, picked up 17 wickets from three Tests, including five-wicket hauls in Ranchi and Dharamsala.

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