Marcus Trescothick has called for a "mentality change" in county cricket in a bid to better prepare players for overseas tours. Trescothick, the former England opener, feels counties should be allowed more scope in preparing surfaces that aid spin bowling and feels his own club, Somerset, have been "harshly put under the spotlight" for producing such pitches.
"People are never going to get better playing on spinning pitches if they don't play on spinning pitches," Trescothick said. "It's frowned upon when you produce something that is spinning but of course it shouldn't be.
"We're so used to seaming pitches in England. That's what we're notorious for. Especially in April or late September. But what's wrong with producing something different? It shouldn't be frowned upon as it has been."
Somerset have attracted criticism for preparing surfaces that aid their spinners. Angus Fraser, the Middlesex director of cricket, called one such pitch in 2017 "dreadful" and "disgraceful", while last season Paul Allott, the Lancashire director of cricket, said another was "below average verging on poor". On that occasion, Somerset narrowly avoided sanction from the ECB.
But Trescothick, who made his maiden Test century in Galle, the venue of the first Test of the series between Sri Lanka and England, believes that such surfaces provide a rare opportunity for England-qualified players to experience the sort of conditions that are prevalent in many other parts of the world.
"If you're going to learn to play spin you're going to have to face it, and when you come to Taunton you have to learn the art of playing on tough pitches," he said. "We at Somerset have harshly been put under the spotlight for producing pitches that have spun. Other counties have had pitches reported, but because it's a seaming pitch it doesn't get talked about. If you play on pitches that spin it gets highlighted quickly and wrongly.
"[South Africa opener] Dean Elgar said he didn't face a ball of seam throughout the series when he went to Sri Lanka. But how often do you get to face a spinner opening the bowling? If you come to Taunton, it's pretty much the only place you'll get to do it at the moment. It shouldn't be penalised too much. Yes, there needs to be a mentality change."
Apart from warning England they would face a large amount of spin, Trescothick feels the conditions render Sri Lanka an especially demanding tour. But he said he had "no doubt" that his Somerset team-mate, the left-arm spinner Jack Leach, would succeed.
"It's very hot," Trescothick said. "It's probably the hottest play they'll go. It's very demanding.
"Jack has had a couple of nice pitches to bowl on at Taunton and he's produced the goods. He's worked really hard to come back from injury and hopefully he'll flourish.
"This is a great chance for him, whether he takes the new ball or not. He's played on pitches that have spun more than anywhere else at Taunton, so he's used to those sorts of environments. I have no doubt he'll succeed. I've seen him produce it at Somerset for a number of years."
Marcus Trescothick was speaking at the relaunch of the Professional Cricketers' Trust, which provides support for PCA members and their immediate families when they need it most