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Jack Leach’s pitch to ease the surface tension

Cricket

ENGLAND spinner Jack Leach feels county cricket must offer a greater variety of pitches if it wants to breed players capable of succeeding all over the world.

Crushing defeats in the first two Tests against the West Indies have raised renewed questions about England’s red-ball team and their ability to thrive on foreign soil.

Those concerns were temporarily eased earlier this winter following a 3-0 victory in Sri Lanka — with Leach’s left-arm spin to the fore — but they are in sharp focus once more.

Leach (pictured) plays for Somerset on generous turning decks at Taunton and rates criticism about the amount of spin they take — Middlesex and Lancashire have recently made their objections clear — as indicative of a wider problem.

England coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root were careful not to use the variable bounce in Antigua as an excuse for last week’s ten-wicket defeat but both were unhappy with the surface. Leach, yet to play in this series, said: ‘We need to challenge people to be better at cricket rather than complain about pitches.

‘The surface at Antigua, we’d have not come up against in the county championship. We need players to experience different surfaces.

‘It’s important to change attitudes. That would strengthen our (Test) teams in years to come. There probably isn’t (enough pitch variety in England).

‘We look at spinning pitches negatively but if it is seaming around, we’re not too bothered. That needs to be addressed.’