JACK Leach has hailed the relaxed ‘club-like’ environment within the England dressing room as a key factor behind their 3-0 series victory in Sri Lanka.

The Somerset spinner was England’s busiest bowler in the series, sending down 142.4 overs, and his total of 18 wickets was the joint-highest in the touring ranks.

Leach was one of several inexperienced players to impress on the tour – Ben Foakes scored a century on debut, while all-rounder Sam Curran continued his fine form from the summer – and he put a large part of it down to the culture which is being cultivated by captain Joe Root, the coaching staff and the spinners' union of himself, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.

“It felt like a really good environment to be a part of and I learned a lot,” Leach said.

“Mo and Rash are very close themselves but included me and helped me on and off the field. They kept me relaxed – they are both very relaxed characters themselves – and that really helped make me comfortable.

“Mark Saxby, the masseur who has been with the England team for over 10 years, was saying what a great atmosphere and how it feels like a club atmosphere.

“You turn up, do your best and celebrate your success. We did that after the third game. We had four or five hours in the changing rooms, singing songs with whites on, and it was a great feeling which made me very proud. Those are the moments you remember in years to come.

“It reflects well on what Rooty is trying to create along with the management and it’s paying off with guys coming in and settling in straight away. It’s a great team to be part of and one I want to play for a lot more.”

The Somerset spinner certainly did his chances of doing so no harm, displaying the control and wicket-taking threat which supporters of his county know have been present for several years.

Leach is, of course, far from a one-trick pony, having taken wickets on all surfaces in recent seasons, but admitted the turning pitches in Taunton had helped prepare him for what he was to confront on the subcontinent.

Asked whether he would like to see a greater variety in county pitches, Leach said: “I think so.

“[Somerset’s] pitches definitely helped me. It made it not too alien when I got out there.

“When I got out there I was thinking ‘I know I’ve done it at county level’, so it was just about doing the same things and now I have experienced it at international level.

“I’ve played in a lot of situations now where the ball is spinning and I need to take wickets in low-scoring games. When teams are scoring 250 or 300 it is a different type of cricket – you have to be tight, you have to stay in the game for as long as you can and make whatever total you have on the board seem a big one.

“I felt Rooty had confidence in me, which is a really nice feeling, especially when it came to getting me on early in those conditions.

“It’s a bit like a game of chess at times, working out when you are going to make moves and be more attacking, and I think without realising it I have a lot of experience in that now.

“That said, there are definitely areas in which I can improve and I’m looking forward to working hard on them.”

The biggest of those is regarding pace, as the spinner explained when reflecting on what he had learned over the course of the tour.

“The pace I can get on the ball is the main thing [to work on],” he said.

“Can I bowl that bit quicker when I need to while maintaining that shape on the ball, and how do I get that from my body?

“I’ve got some good ideas on that and I’ve been working hard on that in the gym since I got back. What’s nice is learning when you’re winning and bowling a lot.

“Field placings is another one. You don’t have to over-attack to start with, you can get into your spell with a bit of protection on the boundary.

“It’s about setting a field you are very comfortable with – me, Mo and Rash talked a lot about it as just one field placing that you’re not happy with can make a big difference to how the ball comes out. Rooty was so supportive of that and wanted to make sure we were comfortable.”

Leach also reflected fondly on teaming up again with Jos Buttler, one of the spinner’s best friends since the days they played together through Somerset’s age group sides.

“It meant a lot to both of us,” Leach said.

“The image that keeps coming to my head is me jumping on him when he caught one off me.

“It was a great feeling to be out there with him. We had a great time and it just felt like being back in Somerset Under-11s.

“The challenge as players is to always remember why you play the game.

“There is a lot of pressure on you at international level but, as I’ve talked a lot to Jos about, it’s important to play with freedom to remember you play for enjoyment.

“When you play as a kid you just want to hit the ball really far or get a wicket and it’s important to keep hold of that. It’s an attitude that works for me.

“Rooty and Stokesy were in our age group as well, so we played a lot against each other growing up, and I played with Rory Burns at [Cardiff] University, so it makes you feel a lot more comfortable.

"At times when you reflect after a game, particularly after a win, it does bring you back to your roots a bit more.

"I think about Taunton Deane Cricket Club, everyone around Taunton generally, and I really feel that support. It definitely inspires me and means a lot. I grew up a Somerset supporter so to have that support is very special.

“Whatever team you are playing for you want to do well, but it’s very special to be representing your country at Test level with a bunch of boys you feel comfortable with, some of whom are very good friends. It’s a great feeling.

“Our aim as a group is to become number one in the world and to do that you have to win away. Showing what we could do in those conditions is pleasing and gives us confidence.

“It gives us something for England supporters to be proud of and is something to build on for the West Indies, which we are really looking forward to.”

See part two of our interview with Jack Leach, looking ahead to the West Indies tour, on the County Gazette website later this week.