Port Elizabeth - England
spinner Jack Leach is to return home from South Africa on Thursday
after battling a series of health issues, including a recent bout of
sepsis, tour officials have announced.
The Somerset left-armer missed the final Test against New Zealand and
has not bowled a ball competitively in South Africa after being hit by
bouts of flu and gastroenteritis.
The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement that the
28-year-old, who also suffers from Crohn's disease, "has struggled to
fully recover from sepsis he picked up during the tour of New Zealand".
He "has not been able to reach the expected levels of fitness to be considered for selection", it added.
England head coach Chris Silverwood said: "It has been an unfortunate
time for Jack with illness and since the Test series in New Zealand six
weeks ago he hasn't been able to get 100 percent fit."
The bespectacled Leach became a cult hero for his stoic resistance
while Ben Stokes produced a match-winning innings in last year's third
Test against Australia.
Leach's Somerset teammate Dom Bess played in the second Test win at
Cape Town, having originally arrived as cover and is in line to retain
his place at Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
Leach is the third player to be ruled out of a tour that has been
disrupted by frequent medical bulletins, joining Rory Burns (ankle) and
James Anderson (rib) on the sidelines.
At least 11 members of the playing squad have fallen ill during the tour, along with about half a dozen backroom staff.
The third Test in the four-match series against South Africa starts
at St George's Park on Thursday. The series is all square at 1-1.