Marcus Trescothick, who was today appointed as England’s Elite Batting Coach, admits that he is warming to touring life again as he manages the stress-related illness that led to his premature retirement as an international cricketer.
Trescothick played the last of more than 200 internationals in 2006, aged 30, but remained a prolific runscorer for Somerset – the county he has now left, ending an association lasting more than 30 years – until the 2019 summer.
Since, he has been working as a batting coach at Somerset, and on an ad hoc basis with England. He toured South Africa with the white-ball squads before Christmas and was due to travel to India for the limited-overs internationals this month, but a family bereavement prevented him making the trip.
As a player, he suffered anxiety issues when away from his young family in the second half of his England career, leading to his international retirement. He has been a trailblazer for conversations around mental health in sport, including with his seminal autobiographyComing Back To Me.
He says he now expects to do “bits and pieces” of touring, and admits he is more comfortable with every trip he goes on.
“We have discussed it and I’m ready to jump back on and do bits and pieces,” he said of touring in his new role. “Do I want to do three months in a row? No, I don’t. I’m building up to that sort of point. The little journeys I’ve done for a couple of weeks here or a month there - that works really well. And I’ve loved it. I know South Africa is a great place, but I really enjoyed my time doing those tours again. And it reminded me of the good bits that I did.
“It felt different because of the stresses and strains of not playing the game and the intensity that goes with it. As a coach, you work hard but in a different way. And that’s what I’ve really enjoyed. It’s given me the opportunity to be there, enjoy it for the right reasons in comparison to what I did before.
“It’s an ongoing process for me. I think I’ve learned to adapt it and progress where I’ve gone.
“I’ve gradually built it from a couple of days in Spain, then went to Spain for a week, then did two weeks in Abu Dhabi. Gradually cutting my teeth on it just to get more confident.
“Every trip that I do, the more I realise how much I enjoyed the touring life. But that’s not to say I’m ready to jump back in and do six weeks or two months or three months away. That’s not what I’m ready for yet. And we’ve discussed that.”
Trescothick – who has been appointed alongside Jeetan Patel (spin) and Jon Lewis (pace) in the elite coaching roles – will have a broad remit in the English system.
“My role will be across many different areas - young Lions, to Lions, to hopefully with the main side as well,” he said.
“I’m not just solely looking at the top like [National Assistant Coaches] Graham Thorpe or Paul Collingwood and the guys who are with them all the time. I’m going to get the opportunity to develop players while also hopefully working with the guys in the main side as well. Gives you something to get stuck into.”
He says that being back with the national team in a coaching capacity is every bit as special as playing.
“I love it, absolutely love it,” he said. “I’m an absolute kit nuffy when it comes to little bits and pieces. I remember going to SA, walking out at the Wanderers with your kit on, feels so special. Because you dream of it and it is something you look forward to all your career - that’s not changed from being a player to being a coach.
“I was given an England helmet the other week and I took it home and I was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Just small things like that. The appreciation of what a special environment you are involved in. It’s still no different for me.”