FORMER England spinner Graeme Swann has criticised the omission of Somerset’s Jack Leach from this winter’s Ashes squad and backed the 26-year-old for international honours in the future.

With England 3-0 down with one Test to play, Hampshire youngster Mason Crane is potentially in line for a debut in the final match of the series in Sydney, which begins on Wednesday (11.30pm UK time).

Crane has a modest First Class record, with 75 wickets at an average of 43.98, while Leach has taken more wickets than anyone else in Division One of the County Championship over the course of the past two seasons.

In a debate aired on BT Sport regarding England’s spin options (watch in full below), Swann said: “I’ve been shouting for Jack Leach from Somerset for a few years now, for a couple of reasons – he’s a left armer, and he’s taken a lot of wickets.

“He took 51 wickets in 14 matches last season, and this is after going back and working on his action because the ECB decided he had a dodgy action, despite not being called for throwing or anything.

“I saw him bowl before his action was reported and it looked fine to me. Someone has said to me […] that he wasn’t selected because he just took his wickets on turning wickets at Somerset. I think that is the most bonkers idea, because you go overseas to India and Bangladesh it does turn – you want a bowler who can bowl well on turning pitches.”

England have struggled to fill the void left by Swann, who retired midway through the last Ashes tour in 2013/14 having taken 255 Test wickets at an average of just under 30.

Moeen Ali has become the primary spinner and largely done well, but the Worcestershire man is enduring a miserable series – partly due to not being fully fit – and has taken just three wickets across the four Tests to date.

Leach and his Somerset teammate Dom Bess have both been in Australia over the winter with the England Lions, who they will represent again in the West Indies in the New Year.

Swann, who went on to describe Bess as “a very promising young offie [off-spinner]”, is one of a growing number to feel the scheduling of the County Championship at either end of the season is harming the development of spinners.

“I don’t think England are going out to find spinners who really turn the ball,” he said.

“County cricket doesn’t help, as a lot of it is played early season and late season, and captains don’t captain spin very well in England.

“They won’t rely on the spinner to bowl 40 overs from one end but, to be honest, if you’re playing on a green dibbly dobbly top in April why would you bowl your finger spinner – the game isn’t set up for spin in England."