England spinner Jack Leach thought his health would prevent him from reaching the 100 Test wicket mark.
The left arm, 31, reached the landmark on day two of the second Test against Pakistan, taking 4-98 to help eliminate the hosts for 202.
Leach suffers from Crohn’s disease and contracted sepsis during England’s tour of New Zealand in 2019.
“There were some dips along the way, but it was worth it,” he said.
Speaking to Test Match Special, Leach added: “It’s amazing to think I’ve got 100 Test wickets. It’s a nice little step but I really want to keep winning games for England and let the rest take care of itself.
“I feel like I’m getting better and better in Test cricket. I feel like I’m learning all the time.”
Leach was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a disease that causes inflammation of the digestive system, when he was 14 years old.
During the New Zealand tour three years ago, Leach contracted gastroenteritis, then spent time in hospital with sepsis caused by his body’s reaction.
He later said he was afraid to fall asleep because he “might not wake up”.
Leach also suffered a fractured skull when he passed out in his bathroom in 2015, and suffered a concussion on the pitch twice – hit by a bouncer at bat for Somerset in 2018 and then during of England’s first test of the summer spent at home on a border-saving dive.
“I didn’t think it would have been possible, especially for health,” Leach said.
“There have been a lot of challenges along the way. Everyone has their challenges and mine have been there. It’s good because I want to be open and honest.”
Leach is playing in his 31st Test, having made his debut against New Zealand in 2018, and is the 20th English spinner to reach 100 wickets in Tests.
He is the only front row bowler to have played in all nine English Tests since Ben Stokes became captain.
Although Leach thrived under Stokes, becoming more secure at the England side than at any point in his career, his stats were actually better under former captain Joe Root. His average and strike rate increased under Stokes.
“I don’t look at my stats, which probably helps,” he said. “We just want to win and do everything we can to achieve it.
“I’m really starting to understand that maybe we’ll take a few more risks to get a wicket. It might take a few more runs. If we win a lot of games, it all happens on its own.
“I love playing for England more than ever. That’s because it’s all about the team, not me. It’s a really special feeling.”
Leach’s wickets on the second morning in Multan came as Pakistan lost 8-60 to give England a 79 first-leg lead.
Ben Duckett’s 79 and 74 not out of Harry Brook then took the tourists to 202-5, a whopping 281 advantage on a rapidly deteriorating surface.
That leaves England on course to lead 2-0 in the three-game series and secure their first win against Pakistan outside the UK for 22 years.
“It was a good day. I think we hit it brilliantly,” Leach said. “It’s really nice to be 281 points ahead. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us.
“We don’t have a plan, it’s about getting as many runs as possible.”