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Trescothick's career in doubt after pull-out

Coach Fletcher said he could not comment on whether it was problems on or off the field that had led to the recurrence of stress.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 01:08 IST

England coach Duncan Fletcher said on Wednesday he hoped the Test career of Marcus Trescothick was not finished after the senior opening batsman quit the Ashes tour and flew home with a recurrence of a stress-related illness.

Fletcher told a news conference here that a replacement for Trescothick for the Ashes series against Australia would be named later on Wednesday.

Asked whether Trescothick pulling out as he did during England's India tour last February meant the end of his Test career, Fletcher replied: "That's very difficult to say, I hope not.

"I can't say at this stage. It would be foolish of me to turn around and say anyone's Test career is over.

"There's been injuries where cricketers have said their careers are over, physical injuries, and they've come back.

"Prime example of that was (fast bowler) Darren Gough, where everyone said he was finished and would never play cricket again and he returned to play."

Fletcher denied it had been a gamble bringing Trescothick to Australia, saying team doctors had assured him the batsman had recovered after taking a break following the India tour.

But "about two days ago this problem seemed to return with Marcus and I had a meeting and at first we decided maybe the best way is to get his wife and kids out here early."

The Somerset left-hander then failed to return to the field during the New South Wales second innings in a practice match on Tuesday.

Fletcher said he had been leaning towards asking Trescothick to return home when "the decision was taken out of my hands when Marcus came off the field in the afternoon."

"It was unpleasant in the change room with him. He was upset to some degree and the doctor just had to sit and console him for about two hours or so."

Trescothick, who will be 31 next month, has played 76 Tests for England scoring 5,825 runs at 43.79 with 14 centuries. He was the second-highest run scorer with 431 behind Kevin Pietersen (473) in last year's Ashes series in England.

He had failed to find form in his two innings on the Australian tour, scoring two against the Prime Minister's XI and eight against New South Wales in the three-day match that finished in a draw on Tuesday.

Fletcher said he could not comment on whether it was problems on or off the field that had led to a recurrence of the illness.

"From our point of view we just wish Marcus well. It's not a very pleasant problem to have and we just wish him well and I think the players feel the same way. 

Asked how he thought the team would shape up against Australia after the loss of Trescothick, Fletcher said they had lost players before and responded well.

"We've been through it before and the guys have responded very very well.

"At Nagpur we had lost the captain Michael Vaughan, we'd lost Simon Jones the day before the Test match, we lost Trescothick there.

"Those were three major losses and the guys came out and performed very, very well."

He gave no hint of who would replace Trescothick.

"I phoned (chairman of selectors) David Graveney last night and discussions will take place today and we'll finalise that sometime today," he said.

Speculation on a replacement as opener has focused on No.3 Alastair Cook, who can bat at the top of innings.

Cook, who scored 214 batting for Essex against the Australians on last year's Ashes tour, looked the part in scoring 59 against NSW on Monday, playing strongly off his pads and the back foot.