SYDNEY, Nov 15: England coach Duncan Fletcher said he was already planning to send Marcus Trescothick home when the opening batsman walked out of the Ashes tour with a recurrence of a stress-related illness.
Trescothick left Sydney last night, nine days before the start of the most-anticipated Ashes series in decades, following a repeat of the personal problems that led him to quit England's tour of India this year.
Fletcher told a packed news conference this morning that he was preparing to tell Trescothick he should leave when the 30-year-old batsman told him he had made up his own mind to return home.
''It was a very difficult decision and I was pretty uncomfortable about it but it was taken out of my hands,'' Fletcher said.
''He came off (the field) and was feeling pretty upset and he wanted to go back.'' Fletcher said the England management held a series of meetings with Trescothick after he notified the medical staff on Sunday about his state of mind following the first day of the team's warm-up match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The management had offered to fly his family out from England to accompany him on the rest of the tour before deciding the best solution was for Trescothick to return home.
''At first we decided maybe the best thing was to get his wife and kids out here early...but I was a little bit uncomfortable with that,'' Fletcher said.
''Was it was going to help the problem or would we be having this problem around the squad? ''I was going to have to speak to Marcus after the game and say it was a difficult tour here, I wasn't too happy and I was going to discuss whether he would fly back and not get his wife come out here.''
Fletcher said that conversation never took place after Trescothick broke down before the match finished and said he wanted to go home. ''I can't go into (details) but it was unpleasant, it was unpleasant in the change room with him,'' Fletcher said. ''He was upset to some degree and the doctor just had to sit with him and console him for about two hours or so.'' Trescothick has been one of England's most reliable players since he made his test debut six years ago, scoring 5,825 runs in 76 tests.
But the first signs of trouble began to appear when he walked out of England's tour of India this year because of stress illness.
The left-handed opener from Somerset also missed the recent Champions Trophy in India because of lingering problems but was declared fit to tour Australia despite concerns about the pressure-cooker atmosphere of an Ashes series.
''It wasn't much of a gamble from our point of view...because the specialist who spoke to me said he'd be fine to tour Australia,'' Fletcher said.
''It's a serious problem but you have to draw similar lines to an injury.
''You never know (whether it will reoccur) so you've got to speak to the specialists and they believed Marcus was going to be fine.'' Trescothick had been struggling for form on the tour, scoring just two runs in the opening match against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on Friday, then eight against NSW, and his departure is sure to raise speculation about his test future.
''It's very difficult for me to say, but I hope not,'' Fletcher said. ''It would be foolish for me to turn around and say anyone's test career is over.
''At this stage our only concern is for Marcus. He has gone back to get over this again and we just wish him well.''