People still want to talk to me about 2005 Ashes
MARCUS TRESCOTHICK ON HIS 26-YEAR CAREER AND JOINING ENGLAND’S LATEST CAMPAIGN
‘It would mean the world to win the title with Somerset’
Anew coach with a very familiar face will be pulling on an england tracksuit again tomorrow to help prepare another crack at the Aussies 14 years after his leading role in the greatest Ashes series of them all.
Marcus Trescothick, one of the stars of the fabled 2005 series, will be joining coach Trevor Bayliss’s staff at edgbaston for the build-up to the first Test and will bring all the boyish enthusiasm to his new role that has marked his astonishing 26-year playing career.
It is the first big step, at 43, towards a new life for one of the most popular figures in the game as he brings the curtain down on his near three decades of opening the batting for Somerset and, for six all too short years, his country.
‘england have invited me to the preparation days of the first two Tests, so the chance to go in there, watch, learn and understand how it works will be magnificent,’ says Trescothick (right).
‘I’ve already spent some time with Andy Flower and the Lions and now I will see how Trevor goes about it and how it’s all moved on. To just be there, help out and have a look is something I couldn’t turn down.’
It is a month since Trescothick confirmed the news he would be retiring at the end of the season now age has finally caught up with one of the best and most longlasting openers of them all.
‘I just think it’s a natural end,’ says Trescothick of his battle with father time. ‘I’ve been gradually fading away over the last two years and the number of runs has been dipping. As much as I love playing and have enjoyed my time I’m ready to move on, I think.’
The good news is that the decision has not, as yet, been as painful as Trescothick feared after a career that has brought him close to 50,000 senior runs for Somerset and england.
‘I never thought I’d get to the point where I would mentally be ready to switch off and say, “Do you know what, I’m done”,’ he says. ‘But I have done and gradually I’ve moved away from the playing side of things.
‘Coaching has really helped me and a weight has been lifted. There’s slightly less pressure now on what I have to do going forward. I look back now with great memories. And I’m still trying. I’m still trying to get myself back in the team but if it finishes with me playing second-team cricket I’d still be delighted with that. I’ve had a great time.’
It says everything about the man that he wants his place back, scoring 53 and 90 in one of his last Somerset secondteam appearances against Gloucestershire at Rockhampton. Could he force his way back for one last firstteam hurrah?
Perhaps for the last game of the county season? what an occasion that could be. For the fixture list will bring together at Taunton the two teams currently challenging for the championship title in essex and the perennial bridesmaids of Somerset. It is the one big prize that neither Somerset nor one of the greatest players of the county of Sir Ian Botham, Sir Viv Richards and Harold Gimblett has won. ‘Of course it would mean the world for us to win it,’ adds Trescothick. ‘For as long as I’ve been playing we’ve made no bones about it. This is the elusive trophy we all want.’ Trescothick talks passionately about his career but it has also been tinged with sadness for he could have played many more times for england than 76 Tests and 123 one- day internationals. He only did not for reasons outside his and their control. ‘I loved the international stuff, well most of it because some of it was s***,’ he says. ‘The buzz of playing for england was what made me enjoy it for so long. Going out in front of a big crowd and hitting runs was what sparked me when I first got the taste for it. ‘You think of all the series you win and the big scores you get and the great moments you have with your team-mates but we’re not going to get too far away from the 2005 Ashes. That was a special time. The way the whole country was engulfed in it was very much like the world Cup that has just happened. This will change english cricket and the story behind it will live for ever as it did with Botham’s Ashes and our team in 2005. ‘I go to dinners now and people still want to talk to me about 2005. ‘It was absolutely magic and I can anticipate something similar for the guys now. For some reason the T20 world Cup win in 2010 didn’t capture the imagination like this has done but I guess with it being the world Cup in 50 overs it was absolutely amazing.
‘It was incredible watching the last hour of the final down at Canterbury with the Lions. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to play in it. Incredible.’
Trescothick’s time with england came to an end when the anxiety issues that had first really hit him on tour in India and Pakistan came to a head at the start of the 2006-07 Ashes. It says everything about him that his legacy will come as much from raising awareness of mental health issues through his seminal autobiography Coming Back to Me as his powerful, minimalist batting.
‘It wasn’t a self-help book but what it hopefully did do was make people know they are not alone,’ he says. ‘It’s a journey that many people go on. Peter Hayter (his ghost writer) and I said when we started, “If we help one person that’s good enough for us”. now 11 years down the line I still get letters from people saying thank you, it really helped. So we clearly did something and now hopefully there’s been a progression from that.
‘I would have loved to have played for england for 10 or 12 years, of course I would because I really enjoyed it, but what I’ve been given since is worth so much more, the time at home watching the kids growing up. I used to resent the fact that I was going away and would miss them.
‘International retirement gave me something else. I’ve never dwelt on it too much. You have to go on to bigger and hopefully better things.’
Trescothick’s anxiety has never truly gone away.
‘It still lives with me all the time but I’ve learnt to manage it better,’ he says. ‘The anxiety can be sparked very quickly when something goes wrong so I’m very tuned in to the emotional side of how my brain operates. It’s still there and I live with it and manage it with medication and it’s a case of keeping on top of it so I’m well prepared when it happens.’
But his future is very bright, starting with tomorrow’s international duty at edgbaston
‘ It was 2006 when england stopped but I’ve had a career in itself since then and it’s been great, I’ve loved every minute. There have been tough times and good times but it’s been very entertaining. And winning the championship would be the perfect ending.
‘I’ll carry the drinks in that final game against essex if I have to. That will suit me fine.’