October 05, 2018

Article at The Cricket Paper

Trescothick Plays On With A Passion

Jeremy Blackmore discovers why Somerset's veteran is happy to be signing up for a 27th season

For Marcus Trescothick the desire to score runs for his beloved Somerset is as strong as it ever has been. So much so, that at 42 he has signed a contract extension that will see him play at Taunton until at least the end of 2019.

Speaking exclusively to The Cricket Paper, Trescothick said: “At my age, you've got to keep that passion, that desire to want to get back out there. Until that disappears then I'll know that be able to carry on and do what I need to do. It’s not been the easiest season for many batsmen, but still the desire is there to keep wanting to do more.”

Trescothick’s contract extension comes as several other veterans have hung up their boots including his former England teammate Paul Collingwood at Durham and Jonathan Trott at Edgbaston. It is a very personal decision, says Trescothick, for who 2019 will be his 27th season as a Somerset player.

“Clubs obviously play a role when you get to our age. They keep giving me the opportunity, which is good. I've just got to keep delivering on the pitch because then you can carry on playing for as long as you’re good enough to do so. Everybody has their time I guess, when they decide that enough is enough and will move onto something else, so we'll see how it goes.”

Fiercely proud of his Somerset roots, a big part of the decision is a desire to not just to keep playing cricket, but playing for Somerset – for whom he has scored more first-class centuries (52) and more List A runs (7,374) than any player in the club’s history – as long as possible.

“Having been here for such a long period of time, it becomes a bit more of a passion rather just than a job, so it’s hard to tear yourself away sometimes. Being awarded a testimonial year was a very proud moment and an honour. We’ve been loyally supported here at Somerset.”

This was a frustrating season for Trescothick, who broke a metatarsal while scoring a century at Old Trafford in May, just as he was hitting form during a difficult time for many batsmen.

“You go through different spells throughout the season when it’s tougher than others. I’d just come through a couple of tough pitches that we’ve played on here at Taunton and got on a good one at Lancashire and found a bit of form and to get an injury was gutting, but it's part and parcel of the game. You have to try and get your head around the fact that it’s what happens and you sit out on the sidelines, get yourself back into shape and in order to play games and come back through the second team.”

Playing second team cricket was an opportunity for Trescothick to assess at first-hand some of the exciting young exciting players coming through the Somerset academy.

“For a number of years our academy has been producing some good players. It's really nice when you get the opportunity to play in the second team games and then you can see how good they are and see how they're progressing and what they need to try and work on and give them a bit of feedback. But when you get in partnerships with some of the real young kids who are really progressing quite nicely, they just run you ragged, that’s the only problem!”

After a disappointing year in 2017 when Somerset narrowly avoided relegation from Division 1 on the final afternoon of the season, Trescothick has been encouraged by the progress made by the club.

“The club seem to be in a good order and a good space at the moment about what they're trying to do. A few changes took place and you can see the benefit – the progression in the T20 to get through to finals day and progressing also in the Championship.

“It's really important to keep establishing ourselves as a team that punches above our weight because that's what we've thrived on for many a year. And this year we were back to what we really expect of ourselves.

“It's nice having two fresh captains in Tom Abell and Lewis Gregory, two new approaches with people who are really respectful of the team and the club and who people like and they follow well. So, Tom is in his second season and really learnt a lot from the first season with it being very tough. While Lewis also had a great season personally with bat and ball, so really nice to see them both doing really well.”

Trescothick is pleased at the call-up for spinner Jack Leach who has been picked for the Test squad to Sri Lanka after injuries forced him out of the international reckoning this summer. Four other Somerset players will feature with the Lions.

“We're pleased with that because we strive hard to get them going onto bigger, better things and it's not been the easiest year for any of them. Jack suffered with a few setbacks, a broken thumb and then a concussion. It came at totally the wrong time, but he's back to how he’d be expected to bowl at the end of the season. The two Overton boys had another good year, and Dom [Bess] was probably quite frustrated but he still got the recognition to go on the Lions at the end of the summer.”

This week Trescothick spoke at the launch of the Professional Cricketers Trust. Formerly, the PCA Benevolent Fund, the organisation has rebranded and relaunched with a fresh identity and objectives which will see the charity extend their support of past and present professional cricketers in England and Wales.

From medical care and mental health counselling to preventative educational programmes and help with addiction, the Trust is there when cricketers need it most.

“It’s absolutely massive,” said Trescothick. “I’ve been involved with the PCA for a number of years and I’m now a trustee of the trust. It’s a great place to be.

“We're just got to keep trying to raise the awareness and the money just to make sure that we don't get to that point where we can’t help people because we’re not directly funded by anybody else.”

As well as supporting the Trust, Trescothick will be taking to the saddle once more in his latest cycling challenge with a team of friends and supporters from Keynsham to St Austell next week to raise money and awareness for Children's Hospice South West.

The challenge will also include visits to local schools, cricket clubs and businesses along the way to promote the work of CHSW, while also offering cricket tuition to junior cricketers.

“I’ve been a patron with them for a number of years. We’re zigzagging our way through the South West, taking in all of the three charity hospices along the way. It's a great opportunity again to keep raising awareness.”

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