Sunday, August 17, 2008

'I was convinced I was dying' - Trescothick

Marcus Trescothick is dismissed by Brett Lee in his final innings for England against New South Wales.

Marcus Trescothick has revealed the depths of his illness which forced him to fly home from the last Ashes tour and pushed him into early international retirement. In extracts from his new autobiography, serialised the the News of the World, Trescothick admits he considered self-harming when he was at his lowest moments.

Trescothick was first affected on the 2006 tour of India when he flew home early and initially the extent of his problems weren't revealed. He returned to the England team in the summer of 2006 against Sri Lanka and Pakistan then was included for the Ashes tour. However, after a tour match against New South Wales he broke down again in the dressing room and returned home.

In 2007 he announced his retirement from international cricket and now he has described how the depression set in during the India trip. "I was petrified. I started sweating heavily and shaking. My mind was racing. And I could hear a loud thumping noise - like someone banging a big drum. I couldn't work it out. Then I realised it was my heart.

"Exhausted, emotionally vulnerable, isolated and far from home, I was ready for the taking," he said. "For a moment I was convinced I was dying. I knew I was in serious trouble...I had to get help."

Trescothick, who was standing in as captain in place of Michael Vaughan at the time, immediately flew home to join wife Hayley and daughter Ellie, but even that couldn't stop his downward spiral. "Out of the blue, in front of Ellie and Hayley, I felt a massive surge of anxiety overwhelm me like a huge wave. It sucked the breath clean out of my lungs. The next 48 hours were hell.

"I started thinking seriously about doing myself harm. I knew I didn't want to carry on living like this."

When the problems resurfaced in Australia, Trescothick says he knew that was the end of his international career. "It was as though someone flicked a switch. I knew it was over. The tears welled up as I started to walk back to the pavilion.

"I knew I no longer had any say in the matter. The illness had come back. The thought of what I was doing hit me like a kick in the guts. I would probably never again experience the great highs, hard work, and joy of playing for England."

Away from the international scene Trescothick has been able to rebuild his life and has enjoyed a productive season for Somerset. He was the first batsman to passed 1000 Championship runs and in the last round of matches hit a season-best 158 against Surrey.