Mixed blessing

Marcus Trescothick’s retirement from international cricket felt almost like a premature yet hardly unexpected bereavement, where relief mingles with sadness. The sadness is fundamentally selfish. We wanted more from an exhilaratingly aggressive batsman — almost England’s answer to Australia’s Matthew Hayden — especially at a time when the top order is in such disarray. The relief is that such a popular cricketer may at last find some peace from a decision that has been too long in the making.

Both emotions jostled for primacy in the head of his friend and team-mate Keith Parsons, as he recalled the brilliant teenager who first made an impact with Somerset’s second XI. Parsons, 34, who first played for Somerset in 1992, two years before Trescothick, and has one year left on his contract, said: “Marcus’s decision didn’t come as any surprise to me. Deep down, he is a very proud man and I really think he wanted to give it another go with England. He felt up for it. It was only when he got to Dubai airport with the Somerset players the other day that he realised that he was still quite a way away from taking that step.

“On March 21 night he came home to Somerset and he came to my son Alex’s third birthday party. He was his old normal, relaxed self. I think his decision will be his and Somerset’s gain. Last year we had his services for the whole season for the first time for the best part of 10 years — and we had a great season and won promotion to the First Division.

“I knew he was something really special when we played for the second team together against Hampshire. He was only 16 or 17 but his quality to hit the ball so powerfully was eye-catching.”

It was a hundred he scored for Somerset against Glamorgan, coached by Duncan Fletcher, that really impressed the man who was about to become the England coach.

Trescothick, 32, announced his retirement on March 22 after pulling out of Somerset’s 12-day pre-season trip to Dubai.

The left-handed opener, who played in 76 Tests (5,825 runs, average 43.79, 14 hundreds) and 123 one-day internationals (4,335 at 37.37, 12 centuries) was often England’s most dominating batsman. But his international future was in doubt after he pulled out of England’s tour of India in March, 2006 with a stress-related illness and he returned from the Ashes tour of Australia the same year.

© Paul Weaver/Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008