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Marcus looking forward to another tilt at the Championship

Marcus Trescothick will once again be donning his pads and gloves for Somerset in 2019.

Ahead of his latest campaign he spoke about what he hopes the next year will hold.

“Signing my latest contract with Somerset means that, all being well, I’ll be playing First Class cricket at the age of 43 next summer,” he said.

“I may well be the oldest player operating in the Specsavers County Championship. Now 44, West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul has had that distinction, but I’m not sure he’s continuing, so yours truly could be the elder statesman of the competition.

“It feels like it sometimes! But as long as I have the ability to score runs and the enthusiasm to get up every morning, even in winter, to do the training and preparation necessary for competing against some of the best players in the world, I’ll continue doing what I love best. I can assure all Somerset supporters that both those requirements are still firmly in place and I look forward to at least one more tilt at helping to bring that elusive Championship title to Taunton.

“Of course, as you get older it becomes more difficult to maintain fitness levels. Throughout my career it’s been my feet which have given me most trouble, and that applied again with my only serious injury last season. Probably because I’ve been used to discomfort, I ignored some warning signs when batting in our Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.”

“I batted through the first session and when I came off at lunchtime I told our physio that my right foot was really hurting in certain places. I got some ice on it and took some pain-killers, which seemed to do the trick because at the start of the second session there was an improvement. I was running more freely, but then I felt a sharp pain when turning and about an over after that I put my foot forward to clip a ball to mid-on and actually felt a bone break.

“I was on 95 at the time and obviously wanted my hundred. Matt Renshaw came out to act as runner and I went for it, picking up a couple of twos before Lancashire dropped mid-on back, with me on 99, and I was able to work a single in that direction. Then I got out and it was about eight weeks before I could play even Second XI cricket again.

“Apart from the usual aches and pains, that was the only time my body let me down this year. I’m very methodical about preparation for each day’s play and warming down after a lengthy spell batting or in the field. I’ve modified both over the years in terms, for example, of the loads I lift when weight-training and the amount of running I take part in. I try my hardest to follow what the other lads do, but while I’m working the same muscles, it isn’t wise to do so with quite the same intensity.”

“You can’t totally fight the ageing process and I feel massively different to 20 years ago. My hips and groin muscles are stiffer through the wear and tear of bending down and diving around in the field season after season. As a young player, you recover so quickly from hard days in the field. It gets more difficult as the years go by and I’ve had to develop a mental toughness to cope with inevitable pains that crop up here and there, which hurt, but I know are nothing serious.

“After a day’s fielding I will usually jump in an ice bath or maybe just apply ice to certain areas of my body like an ankle or knee, while also having some recovery drinks. Ice baths are as horrible as they sound. They’re alright after a couple of minutes, but nothing prepares you for the shock of getting in, which takes your breath away. It’s worth it because you quickly feel the benefit and emerge refreshed.

“My eyesight has deteriorated slightly over the years. I’ve been wearing glasses at the crease for a few years now, but there is a new type of contact lens on the market, which Jack Leach has been enthusing over, and I may well try out too. My vision is still fine and the only thing that changes is how quickly you lock onto the ball and track it as it’s coming towards you. That is a split-second thing that at the top level can separate top batsmen and great ones. I may not be quite as aggressive with my batting these days and take a bit longer to get in, which is why I’ve given up playing one-day cricket.

“It would be nice to say my Somerset team-mates never make an issue of my age. In fact, the opposite is true and hardly a day goes by without me having to put up with some stick from the youngsters. They hammer me, but that’s been going on for a few years now and I’ve developed a thick skin!”

“I’m genuinely excited about next season. For a while I’ve been witnessing the development of young players like the Overtons, Lewis Gregory, Jack Leach, Dom Bess, Tom Abell and others to form the nucleus of a Somerset side capable of finishing top of the First Division. We gave a very good Surrey side a run for their money last summer, with Jamie Overton’s return to full fitness giving us that added X-factor with his extra yard of pace, and it wouldn’t take much for us to make that final step up required to be champions.

“The emergence of Josh Davey and the signing of Jack Brooks means we are going to have some serious selection dilemmas with our seam attack next season and that is vital to cope with injuries or international call-ups. Efforts will be made to strengthen the batting with overseas recruits, which proved so successful last season, and the future is immensely bright.

“One thing I can promise supporters is that the Club won’t need to tell me when the time comes for me to retire. I’ll be the first to know when that moment is at hand and in the meantime I will, as always, be giving everything for the cause so dear to my heart.”

Marcus Trescothick was in conversation with Richard Latham who writes on Somerset for the Sunday Independent and the Western Daily Press and is the managing director of Bristol and West News Agency.

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