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Marcus Trescothick has withdrawn from Somerset's pre-season tour to UAE after a recurrence of the stress-related illness that has twice forced him to quit recent England overseas trips.
The decision was taken on Friday evening and Trescothick had got as far as checking his luggage in at Heathrow airport with the rest of the Somerset squad before deciding he wasn't ready for the 12-day trip.
Somerset chief executive Richard Gould told the Somerset website: "Marcus took the decision himself and the club are fully supportive. He has returned home to Taunton to be with his family and we look forward to him playing a full part in our season."
Andy Hurry, the Somerset coach, said it was too early to talk about the long-term impact on Trescothick's international hopes. "There is no doubt in my mind that he is a quality world-class performer. But that is a question I can't answer, because I am not Marcus Trescothick," he told the Press Association. "Marcus didn't feel comfortable coming away. It was a very difficult decision, but a very mature decision for him to make. He is now back in Taunton fully preparing himself for the season ahead. The club have already spoken to him, and he is hungry - his appetite is really good for the forthcoming season."
Trescothick was first affected by the problem during England's tour to India in February 2006 and flew home before the first Test. He returned the following summer against Sri Lanka and Pakistan before making himself unavailable for the Champions Trophy in India.
He was recalled for the Ashes tour in 2006-07, but two matches into the trip broke down during a warm-up game against New South Wales and immediately came back to the UK. He hasn't featured for England since, although did play with some success for Somerset during the 2007 county season, top-scoring with 1343 runs including four centuries.
This latest setback, however, means it is increasingly unlikely that Trescothick, 32, will ever feel ready to make a return to international cricket. In 76 Test appearances from his debut in 2000, he made 5825 runs at an average of 43.79, as well as 4335 more in ODIs, which included an England-record 12 centuries. His ability to set a brisk tempo at the top of England's batting order has been sorely missed ever since his departure from the side.
However, Paul Collingwood, speaking on behalf of the England team in New Zealand, said that Trescothick's career should be the last thing on anyone's mind right now. "It's just really sad," said Collingwood. "I think he should just forget about the cricket, to be honest. I just want Marcus to get himself right and forget about whether he is going to play for England again or to go away with Somerset.
"We just need to get him right, for his own sake really," added Collingwood. "We can be very selfish and ask whether he will ever play for England again, but it doesn't really matter because we need to get him right. All of our thoughts go out to him."