Gr-eight for Trescothick but alas for England
Whilst England continue to struggle in the never-ending ODI series, one of the former members of the team continues to enjoy a prolific season in all formats of the game. Indeed, as Mike Atherton wrote in his excellent piece in The Times yesterday about England’s Best Ever One Day XI, it is doubtful whether England’s one day team has ever missed a player as much since his sad breakdown and retirement from international cricket. That player is of course Marcus Trescothick.
Trescothick, who played 76 Tests and 123 ODI, yesterday notched his eighth championship ton of the summer for Somerset as he increased his tally to 1,745 runs for the season at a touch under eighty. He has a maximum of three innings to break the 2,000 barrier for the season, which would be a phenomenal achievement. His one day form is also good with an average of 58.9 from 14 Pro 40 and FP games with one century and five fifties.
As Atherton wrote of his decision to include Trescothick in his all-time England ODI side “It was the combination of power, the ability to hit fast bowlers over the infield and a ratio of a hundred close to once every ten innings — better than any other England player — that makes his selection a certainty.” England could certainly do with someone at the top of the order with the ability to score centuries – as I wrote in my blog yesterday, England’s top four in the current series have a total of four tons from 239 matches. This is a pitiful return. Trescothick also got his runs at a good tick, with a strike rate of 85.21 – this is a player who can take advantage of powerplays!
Trescothick is also missed in the Test side where the fast starts he gave at the top of the order were one of the main reasons for England’s triumph in the infamous 2005 Ashes. Indeed, it can be argued that together with Andrew Strauss, Trescothick formed England’s best opening partnership since the halcyon days of Hobbs and Sutcliffe.
Although it seems unlikely that Trescothick will ever play for England again it is intriuging that he has agreed to go to India with Somerset for the Champions League T20 competition. Somerset are making a big effort to ensure Trescothick’s illness does not resurface and it is understood that he will stay with his family in Dubai and fly in for Somerset”s games.
This seems to reinforce comments made in August by Somerset Chief Executive Richard Gould after frenzied speculation that Trescothick was being considered for the Oval Test. Gould suggested that Trescothick may be open to playing in England’s home matches only on the proviso that he would not be forced to tour “There are not many truly world-class performers and those that are, like Marcus, need to be kept on the pitch for as long as possible. He is absolutely at the top of his game, still one of the best batsmen in the world with an unabated hunger for runs. Before he retired — for medical reasons, not because he was picking and choosing — he was looking to play for England until his mid-thirties and his form in Test cricket was unaffected when he pulled out of the tour to India in 2005-06.”
I certainly don’t agree with players being able to pick and choose when and where they play for England, but feel that an exception should be made for Trescothick. Firstly, because he is so crucial to the side, and secondly; and most importantly, because the reason is due to Trescothick’s illness and not because of any personal preference.
There are precedents in other sports. Dennis Bergkamp, the former Arsenal and Holland footballer, was permitted to continue playing despite picking and choosing his matches owing to a fear of flying.
If there is any possibility that Trescothick would agree to such an arrangement then Strauss and Andy Flower should make some informal soundings now. If Trescothick confirms his international retirement then we should all wish him well for the future with Somerset and move on but remember his days with England with some fondness and no doubt a little regret that they ended so prematurely.
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