Marcus Trescothick's return from England's already chaotic tour of India is plainly a personal crisis of the most serious kind.
He has made himself the backbone of the team's batting and is due the utmost sympathy. The sight of such a dedicated cricketer leaving the battlefield in open distress over family problems is certainly no terrain on which to make smug assessments about the duties of well rewarded and hugely celebrated international sportsmen.
However, there is no point in ignoring the fact that a culture has developed in which certain England cricketers' believe that the traditional sacrifices of their trade can be easily jettisoned for the kind of family conveniences enjoyed in more ordinary walks of life.
What seems to be demanded is a rigorous examination of the situation of all those who are contracted to embark on foreign tours.
On the last tour of Pakistan, the captain, Michael Vaughan, and Andrew Strauss both flew home to attend births. This may have been a triumph for "new man" values but it was a nightmare for their coach and team planning. The relevant question is whether a cricket tourist is able to give the challenge facing him his complete attention barring some unforeseen problems at home. If this is not so, he simply shouldn't get on the plane. His place should go to someone who can give that first vital assurance.
When Vaughan left the field of a Test match while captaining England, he was widely applauded for getting his values right. For some, though, it seemed like the worst of compromises, and, ever since, that concern has accelerated with almost every Test match.Reuse content