England in Pakistan, 2005-06 December 5, 2005

Trescothick: 'We've got to pick ourselves up'



Captain for the first Test, Trescothick again replaces Michael Vaughan for the opening one-dayer at Lahore © AFP
Marcus Trescothick, England's stand-in captain, insisted that his team would not be dwelling on their 2-0 defeat in the Test series, and were seeking to bounce back instantly in the five-match one-day series which gets underway at the Gadaffi Stadium on December 10.

Trescothick, who will lead the side in their one warm-up fixture at Bagh-e-Jinnah on Wednesday, could yet be in charge for the entire series, if Michael Vaughan's knee injury prevents him from returning from England. But he insisted that he was not thinking that far ahead just yet. "Michael's gone back to see the specialist and we'll judge it from there," he said. "I'm not going to suddenly make myself captain in the next couple of days. If and when I get told bad news, then I'll look at it and get my plans in place."

The immediate priority, he stressed, was for the team as a unit to bounce back from their failings of the past three weeks. "It was very disappointing to lose," said Trescothick, "but our team spirit goes deeper than just one loss. We can pick ourselves up very quickly. We'll take a few days off and have a wind-down, then get straight back into it."

England's record in overseas tournaments is staggeringly poor. Aside from victories over Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, they have not won a one-day series of note since Adam Hollioake's men triumphed in Sharjah in 1997-98. And, with the 2007 World Cup looming large, Trescothick recognised that the time for rectifying that record was now.

"We're always looking to win one-day competitions," he said. "We've got 18 months until the World Cup and the base of our team is in place. These will be similar conditions to the West Indies, with generally flat and slow wickets, so we've got to perform and play well, especially because we missed out on the Tests.

"Pakistan are a good side," he added. "They've got a lot of experience, and they are playing at home as well. We can beat them if we play well, but we've got to pick ourselves up after the last couple of weeks and perform on the pitch."

That may be easier said than done, especially given the crushing disappointment about the manner in which their run of six consecutive Test series wins came to an end. "If we were going into this just having won the series we'd be cock-a-hoop without a doubt," said Trescothick. "But it's up to us to change it here. We can't just let the game go just because they've won the Test series. We'll be going into the first game on the 10th expecting to win it, and if we play well enough we will."



'Andrew Flintoff, who appeared so drained in the final Test, seems likely to sit out Wednesday's warm-up match at Bagh-e-Jinnah' © AFP

In a departure from previous tours, the one-day squad, by and large, is the same as the Test squad, with only Matthew Hoggard and Vaughan missing from the team that played at Lahore. Vikram Solanki, Ian Blackwell and Kabir Ali have flown out as an injection of new blood, and Trescothick believed that the similarities between the two squads would be beneficial in the long run.

"The ideal situation is to keep a unit together," he said. "We want to keep the best players involved in both forms of the game, because that makes a lot of difference. Take the Ashes for example, we only changed one player all summer, and I think that'll be the way to go. Most of the best teams now have that situation, where players can adapt and are good enough to perform in both games."

Even so, with a massive winter approaching in 2006-07, starting with the Ashes and culminating in the World Cup, such a policy could equally prove detrimental to the team's fortunes. Andrew Flintoff, who appeared so drained in the final Test, seems likely to sit out Wednesday's warm-up match at Bagh-e-Jinnah, along with Steve Harmison, but Trescothick insisted they would both have to play a full part in the five international matches.

"Of course it's very demanding," said Trescothick. "We need time off before big competitions, and I think there is definitely a case in the future for the odd person to be rested for a game at a time. But first we have to make sure we are winning games and tournaments consistently because, at end of the day, that is the most important thing."

As if the problems of player fatigue were not enough, England will also have to get their heads around the new ICC regulations involving Powerplays and Supersubs, and Trescothick admitted it was not something he was much looking forward to.

"Trying to pick the right time for the Powerplay is a side of the captaincy that will be tough," he admitted. "It's not the same as in England, you can't just bank on playing the first 20 overs straight through. It's going to be totally different, and whoever's captain is going to have to work out the timings and take a punt on when they use their blocks of five overs. It's something for us to discuss as a group and hopefully get it right."

Five years ago, England's one-day series was memorable for a plague of flies at Lahore and riots at Rawalpindi that necessitated the use of tear gas. But Trescothick was able to laugh at the memories, and didn't rule out the likelihood of a repeat performance. "It's always good fun out here," he said. "The crowd enjoys what goes on and generally you get a full house which is good. It all adds to the fun of the fair and it's what you'd expect in this part of the world."

Ultimately, though, England's one-day series offers a final opportunity for England to finish a memorable year on a high note, and Trescothick recognised that fact. "We all know how important the summer was, and it was a great victory," he said. "But we also wanted to sustain our run of unbeaten series wins, and we've given that away now. So it's important we stay positive at least, and make sure nothing wrong with our team morale. At the end of the day they outplayed us, so we've just got to make sure we try to win."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo