By Richard Latham

Jack Taylor is busy reinventing himself as a leg-spinner in a bid to regain a regular place in Gloucestershire’s Specsavers County Championship side.

The 27-year-old all-rounder was cleared to bowl again this season after being banned for a year by the England and Wales Cricket Board in in the autumn of 2017 for an illegal action.

It was the third such suspension Taylor had served as an off-spinner, the others being imposed in 2013 and 2016. During the winter he began working on leg breaks and head coach Richard Dawson is delighted with his progress.

“Jack now bowls leg spin in the nets every day. It’s up to captain Chris Dent whether to employ him in our attack, but if he does it will be as a leg-spinner,” Dawson said.

“As the season progresses, it might be very handy for us to have that type of bowler in our armoury, including in T20 cricket.

“We talked about Jack switching from off-spin after he was banned again and decided to have a crack at it.

“You see a lot of part-time leg-spinners bowling around the world and taking wickets and we don’t have a specialist one on our staff.”

Dawson, himself a former England off-spinner, has been impressed by Taylor’s transition, but one hurdle remains to be overcome.

“It is one thing to bowl leg spin in the nets and another to have the confidence to do so in a match situation,” he said.

“That only comes with experience. But Jack has improved considerably through practice and has a lot of belief in his own ability.

“He is developing a googly and it wouldn’t be Jack if he didn’t want to try all the tricks of a leg-spinner.

“Playing him as a middle-order batsman, who can turn his arm with a bit of leg spin, is an interesting option for us going forward.”

This week’s drawn Championship game with leaders Lancashire at Cheltenham College, in which Taylor made his first four-day appearance of the season, left Gloucestershire unbeaten in their first four games.

The match was ruined by the weather, but Dawson saw enough in what play there was to confirm his view that his team can mount a sustained challenge for one of three promotion places up for grabs in the Second Division.

“We saw Miles Hammond play a tremendous innings against a bowler of the calibre of Jimmy Anderson on day one and at the end of it David Payne produced a superb spell,” he said.

“I want our players to be testing themselves against the best and Lancashire are so strong in all departments.

“We are priding ourselves on becoming difficult to beat and that can lay the foundation for a successful season.”