Trescothick seeks a way to play away

At home sublime, on tour a struggler. Stephen Brenkley hears the answer

There are two Marcus Trescothicks. The first one has come to spend dashing summers in England, pretty much lord of all he surveys. The second one winters abroad, often in an agonised search for something he has merely misplaced but cannot for the very life of him lay his hands on.

It is as though the moment Trescothick Marcus One wanders through the airport body-check apparatus, a blitz of rays sears through his every fibre and gives life to the weaker Trescothick Marcus Two, a being alike in every way except for a slight change in demeanour and a batsman's raison d'être: runs. The process is not reversed until months later, when he makes the return journey.

The evidence is incontro-vertible. In 28 home Test matches, Trescothick has scored 2,373 runs at an average of 53.93, and in 26 away Tests he has scored 1,609 runs at 32.84. In 42 home one-day internationals he has scored 1,745 runs at 44.74, and in 50 away one-day matches he has scored 1,625 runs at 33.16. Figures can mislead hopelessly, but those do not lie. They do not shout failure, but they reflect indifference.

Trescothick knows it, and somewhat bravely addressed the issue last Thursday evening, minutes before he stepped through into the departure area at Heathrow, probably fearing what the rays might do to him this time. "It's something I have looked at and discussed, these are the sort of things that make the difference between a good player and a great player. If I had the record away that I do at home, then I'd be a very good player. I can't explain it because I'm not sure why it happens. I find touring difficult because you're away from home and in hotels all the time. At times it gets me down, it all gets on top of me.

"I've had problems with being away all my life. I cope with it rather than enjoy it, and it's another thing playing cricket, performing all the time. Maybe I get tired too quickly, maybe my focus gets lost when it comes to my batting. It's all part of the thing I'm trying to understand."

This is not a malady that will strike a sympathetic chord among those who would give their right arm to be in Trescothick's place, playing cricket for England anywhere. But it is all too real.

Trescothick is an affable country boy at heart and by upbringing. Although he might have changed since he so easily bedded down into international cricket - he has slimmed down dramatically, to the extent that these days he looks as though he might be ordering a martini shaken not stirred in some sophisti-cated nightspot rather than preparing to start the combine harvester - he will never be the urbane cosmopolitan.

When he scored his first Test hundred for England, perversely enough in Sri Lanka, the first people to whom he turned were the boys from Keynsham with whom he had played as a lad and who had followed him out to Galle.

To address the weakness, Trescothick has spoken at length to the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, and the team psychologist, Steve Bull. He feels that in the West Indies last year he could see daylight. The Test series was fairly moderate, but he stormed through at the end in the one-dayers. "That was a big improvement, because generally it gets worse and worse as it goes on. I had looked at it before the series and it worked, but now I've got to start playing throughout the whole tour. If I crack it I'll be happy with my game."

So he should be happy with his game. Trescothick has become England's rock. Whatever else has been wrong with the tour of Zimbabwe, something has been missing: Trescothick. Since he was plucked from Somerset because of an injury halfway through the summer of 2000 he seems always to have been there. This is because he has always been there. After his audacious debut at The Oval (a bravura 66 in a losing cause - against Zimbabwe) he appeared in 92 consecutive one-day matches. He has been in 52 of the 55 Test-match teams. No other player comes close in that time.

Having been rested for the contentious Zimbabwean trip, he has been typically conscientious, working for long hours with England's new assistant coach, Matthew Maynard. "I've worked hard on my fitness but I needed to work on my batting as well, to get a little bit clearer in my mind what I'm trying to do. You probably wouldn't be able to notice any difference, but part of it is making sure my feet and head are in the right place. I have never moved my feet in any form of the game, never will, but my weight distribution is vital, getting into the ball and getting back to it. Transferring my weight at the right time."

If he had not had such a poor tour of Australia two winters ago, Trescothick might have been England's captain. His pal and then opening partner Vaughan overtook him. Trescothick, who led the team once to victory when Vaughan was injured last summer, sounded almost relieved that he was not offered the job.

"Glad isn't the right word, though there have been times over the past 18 months when I've been glad I'm not captain," he said. "I think it's a really tough job and I'd have to really think about it if it ever came up. I've spoken to Michael's wife, Nichola, and she's told me what it means and how it has changed things. It wouldn't be a straight yes and it wouldn't be a straight no." The issue might be further complicated one day, because Trescothick's wife, Hayley, is expecting their first child.

He supposes that England will start favourites against South Africa. "If I was them, looking at the time they've had, I'd be sceptical. But it's a huge series and I'd love to win it for another reason. If we do, it will make the series here against Australia next summer bigger still. And people judge us by how well we do against Australia." And then the departure lounge loomed.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
Arts and Entertainment
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?