Image courtesy of: Zimbio
England spinner Mason Crane will miss the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Crane made his Test debut during the recent Ashes series against Australia, which England lost 4-0, and rejoined his teammates this week.
However, his back injury stopped him from featuring in the back-to-back warm-up matches in Hamilton.
As a result, Crane will return to England, while Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach will replace him in the Test squad.
England pace bowler James Anderson, who has been retained as vice-captain, admitted that he knows what Crane is going through and hopes the 21-year-old will make a quick recovery.
“I’ve been there myself. Mason has got got a good head on his shoulders and I’m sure he’ll come back strong,” Anderson told BBC Sport. “What is unfortunate for someone is a bit of fortune or someone else. It’s a good opportunity for Jack.”
Leach has yet to make his Test debut and could very well do so in the Test series against the Black Caps, which begins with a day-night match in Auckland on March 22.
Leach was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in Division One of the County Championship last year as he claimed 51 wickets at an average of 25.78.
The 26-year-old was set to be called up for England’s Test tour of India in 2016, but missed out on the series as he had to remodel his bowling action.