Trescothick: captaincy gives me a little kick

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The Independent Online

Marcus Trescothick admits that the strains of a long season are taking their toll as he bids to win his first trophy as Somerset captain at today's Friends' Provident Twenty20 Finals.

The demands of leading the team as well as attempting to remain their No 1 batsman leave him weary in a way he has not experienced before.

Yet he surprises you by arguing that the expanded T20 format that has asked teams to play 17 games to earn a place at the Rose Bowl – a classic case, in some eyes, of greed-driven overkill – should not be cut back at all.

"Honestly, I'd leave it as it is," he said. "There were a lot of games but the way they were scheduled for us was ideal. Only once did we play games back to back. Otherwise there was always a day off in between, sometimes three or four. That was brilliant, almost the ideal balance of recovery, preparation and play.

"It is the schedule we have now that is the problem. It is really jammed, with four-day games and one-day games and travelling in between.

"If we had the balance of practice time to competition time that other athletes in other sports have, we would be able to perform a lot better."

Somerset's fixture list illustrates his point. In 26 days leading up to today's showpiece, Trescothick's men were scheduled to play on 21; between next Monday and the end of August, they have 12 days' cricket in 16.

Yet Somerset are competitive on all fronts – second in the Championship and leading their group in the Clydesdale Bank 40 – and Trescothick is thriving. The problems with the anxiety disorder that forced him to end his international career have receded since he announced he would not attempt to play abroad again and the issues involved with captaincy he takes in his stride.

"It can be tough going out to bat sometimes when you are not fully tuned in but it is the things about being captain that make me tired that I really enjoy," he said. "I love the constant involvement, having to concentrate right through the day. The influence you can have on people and the decisions you make, the tactical choices, those are the things that give you that little kick."

Not every problem has been easy, such as dealing with the critical spotlight aimed at Craig Kieswetter during the dip in form he suffered after his starring role in England's World Twenty20. He has become protective of the young wicketkeeper, declining media requests for interviews.

"From my experience I know that the scrutiny he has been under is just the way it works. But there is no need for him to speak to anybody at the moment. You can be asked the same question six times in a week and there is only one answer, which is that he needs to go out and play and score runs," he said.

Trescothick would love nothing more than to see Kieswetter play a starring role today, although you suspect it is more likely to come from Kieron Pollard, the West Indian all-rounder who has taken 28 wickets and hit 27 sixes, or James Hildreth, who struck his sixth Championship hundred of the season this week and whose 428 runs in Twenty20 are bettered only by Trescothick's own 493.

Born in Keynsham, Trescothick is deeply proud of his Somerset roots and has said he would "fulfil a boyhood dream" if he were to lift a trophy as captain, especially since his most recent successful predecessors have been Australian (Jamie Cox, Justin Langer) or South African (Graeme Smith).

"I know each derived enormous pleasure from the moment but it cannot have been quite the same as if they were Somerset born and bred."

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