WILTSHIRE’S Liam Dawson could be a last-minute inclusion in England’s Ashes squad following an injury to left-arm spinner, Jack Leach.

Somerset bowler Leach suffered a stress fracture to his lower back and has been ruled out of the entire men’s series against Australia, weeks before the first ball goes down.

England are not without slow-bowling options, with Surrey’s Will Jacks, Leicestershire’s rising star Rehan Ahmed and Dawson all offering different skills.

Dawson is a dependable character with more than 15 years of first-class experience and has been a regular across formats for England squads, but has just three Test appearances to his name.

He is by no means a mystery spinner, but perhaps the closest like-for-like replacement for Leach.

Although the 33-year-old has never competed in an Ashes series before, he is a solid left-armer who can hold an end and bowl lengthy spells, so he could provide handy respite for the exciting seam attack. Plus, many see him as as under-rated batter and fielder.

But while Dawson is certainly in the conversation, Ali Ali is considering the possibility of reversing his Test retirement after Leach’s injury left England short of an experienced spinner for the five-match series.

Ali, 35, has not played red-ball cricket since September 2021 but has found his name thrust back into the conversation along with Swindon-born Dawson.

However, none of the potential options can match the experience of a seasoned Test player with 64 caps and 195 wickets under his belt in Ali.

Head coach Brendon McCullum previously tried to tempt the all-rounder back into the fray for the historic tour of Pakistan but, after initially declaring himself open to the idea, Ali ultimately decided to stick to limited-overs cricket.

Now, the same offer is back on the table in the form of one last shot at Australia. With the series getting under way at Ali’s home ground of Edgbaston on June 16, time is short, but the England and Wales Cricket Board are unlikely to rush for a quicker verdict.

If he did throw himself into the maelstrom of an Ashes summer, Ali would need to be certain he had the necessary mental and physical energy to take on a side against whom he has some difficult experiences but, perhaps, unfinished business.

The leadership style of McCullum and captain Ben Stokes may prove a real draw in his deliberations. Ali’s naturally aggressive style, with both ball and bat, chimes perfectly with the current environment and the chance to make his own mark on the ‘Bazball’ era could be persuasive.

Stuart Broad, a contemporary of Ali’s who has been revitalised by the set-up over the last year, can already see a neat fit.

He told Sky Sports: “We know Mo is a phenomenal cricketer and someone who would fit into Stokes and Baz’s philosophy beautifully.

“I don’t know if he’s being considered by the selectors or if he would consider red-ball cricket again, but he’s a mighty fine cricketer.”

England have held off naming an addition to the squad, having originally expected to make an early call, leaving the ball in Ali’s court.