England opener Marcus Trescothick has quit the Ashes Series citing stress related disorders. He had also cited stress when he pulled out of England’s tour of India earlier this year as well as the Champions Trophy.
The stylish bastman, a consistent performer (he scored well over a thousand in Tests for three consecutive years), had been the backbone of the English batting line up along with Kevin Pietersen during their amazing Ashes victory last year.
This brings us to the main question. Is he unable to handle pressure or is he a victim of too much cricket being played? Cricket, unlike football, tennis, and basketball, is no more a seasonal game and is played through the year all over the world. Players spend a lot of time away from their families traveling to various places, at times even to meaningless places like Malaysia to play in meaningless contests. Is it taking a toll on their physical and mental fitness. Adam Gilchrist, one of the toughest cricketers around, has in the past criticised the ICC for imposing no upper limit to the number of matches being played in a year.
I tend to agree with people who think that we have had too much of cricket, and remember too much of anything is bad. Its taking its toll on the players physical fitness as well as their mental makeup. Its not only the body that is tired after a five day game but also the mind. Also the players are required to handle the pressures and expectations of playing for the national team. One cannot concentrate for that long without mental fatigue setting in. As more and more players start facing physical problems early in their careers and the problems of Treschothick surfacing, I hope ICC sits up and takes notice. Else we might lose many more Trescothicks.
Meanwhile, I hope he fends off the bouncers from the demons in his head and we get to see him again.