February 27th, 2010


Tresco's Troubles: Trescothick's autobiography

I borrowed Coming Back to Me by Marcus Trescothick (with Peter Hayter) from the library and read it in about five minutes. For those who don’t know, Marcus Trescothick is a former England Test cricketer, a lovely batsman on form, whose international career was wrecked by panic attacks which made it impossible for him to travel overseas to play for his country. Test cricket is *unbelievably tough*. Those guys are gladiators. It’s a brave effort to try to put on record what the poor man has been through. This is a ghosted memoir so we’re not looking for great writing or insights. It’s also, of course, full of statistics. Like any professional cricketer, Tresco can tell you exactly how many runs he scored in x match and just how y got him out in the next one.

The book arouses both pity and anger. Anger at the cruelty of the press and the ineptitude of the authorities in dealing with it. Anger that mental health problems still carry a stigma. Picture this headline: ‘Flintoff ruled out of next Test due to ankle injury.’ Routine, eh? Now this one: ‘Trescothick withdrawn from next Test due to depression and anxiety.’ Unthinkable, apparently. Which is why the authorities screwed up so badly when Trescothick returned home unexpectedly from the Indian tour which proved too much for him. A simple statement at the time would have prevented the ensuing hounding by the press and the hurtful and untrue stories about his marriage. Press statements did later refer to his 'stress-related illness'. I’m not usually keen on celebrities parading their suffering but Trescothick could have done a few people some favours by publishing his story.

It’s interesting to see what Geoffrey Boycott wrote on the subject in this Telegraph article from 2006. You’d expect him to be the 'pull yourself together, lad' type, wouldn’t you? Not at all.