The 2019 Ashes was a treat to the senses. Great cricket, lethal bowling, unmissable knocks, the relentlessness of both sides and of course, the spectacles of Jack Leach. While Ben Stokes grabbed all the headlines in that historic victory at Headingley where he managed solid innings defending the last wicket. He could not have done it without the help of Jack Leach, however, who couldn’t have done it without his glasses aiding his vision.
He made sure to clean his lenses several times, survived 17 deliveries defending that all-important last wicket and made the most out of Nathan Lyon missing a run-out chance to assist Stokes in pulling off the miracle of Headingley.
Steve Smith hit god-like figures in the series which reached its peak with a double century at Old Trafford and helped set up Australia to defend the urn clinching a 185-run in the process. But that win did not come without its share of drama either as Jack Leach put on a dauntless partnership with Craig Overton that lasted 14 overs and almost allowed England to pull off a draw. However, that did not work out and Australia secured the win and Smith toasted the victory by sporting a pair of glasses.
When the Ashes ended, the first time in a draw since 1972, Smith came over to the England dressing room and took pictures with Leach in specs.
“I did think about having a picture with him, getting him in my glasses! He came to me to let me know that it wasn’t about me (the celebrations in Manchester). I didn’t know whether it was or wasn’t. I was kind of hoping it was and thought it was a good laugh. I was very embarrassed after Headingley when the video came out of me doing my one. I think I deserved that, to be honest!” said Leach, who also spoke about how his celebrity status has grown over the period of the Ashes.
“Yesterday, when I was batting at the end and over there they were singing ‘Stand Up If You Love Jack Leach’, and then they started over there (in the crowd) as well. I just thought ‘what is going on?’ Nathan Lyon came over and said to me ‘how many beers do you owe me [for the run out]?’ I think I owe him a lot. Sport is fickle and I guess you have to enjoy the good moments and not get too down about the bad moments. I have had some luck as well. Hopefully, you earn that luck through hard work, I will continue working hard”.
“That was an experience for me, seeing how competitive Ashes cricket is. Nothing crossed a line, and fair play to both teams for playing in a great spirit”.
Leach, already a hero for English fans had the last laugh in the final test. He scored 21 runs that boosted England’s total in the first innings and finished Ashes 2019 by grabbing two wickets.
There was a lot of competitiveness on day 4 of the Test at The Oval as Matthew Wade and Jofra Archer went head-to-head and toe-to-toe against each other. Their fierce competitive duel to outwit each other was a treat for everyone involved, including Leach who was bowling from the other end.
“You are just watching on. It was very special. We talk about bowling in partnerships and I wanted to keep things tight, he wanted to do things slightly more aggressively. It shows what he can do, he can ramp it up when he wants to. He sees key moments and that was one”.
After an energy-sapping Ashes, what next for Leach? “I haven’t thought! I wanted to finish this series well. Somerset-Essex next week, I don’t know if I’ll play yet. I’ve been part of that Somerset season as well so I don’t know. During this series, it’s been pretty mentally and physically tiring. But I probably haven’t bowled too many overs, not a silly amount. It will be good to go back and try to win the Championship with Somerset because we’ve never won that”.
Receive more interesting news, updates and live scores on your smartphones, download CricDost app now!