After the psychological problems which Marcus Trescothick has been confronting over the last two years it's been sobering indeed to read about the similar issues currently being faced by Shaun Tait and Lou Vincent.

A number of writers (most notably David Frith in his ground-breaking studies of cricket suicides and David Foot in his great book about Harold Gimblett) have considered the fact that cricket appears to attract people who are more prone to illnesses of this sort than other sports. Or does cricket, with its protracted nature, mental and physical intensity and harsh statistical verdicts on its participants, lead people down the road of mental torment to a greater extent than other games?

I'm not sure, but with reference to the ceaseless and often devalued treadmill which modern international cricket has become, I tend towards the latter explanation, certainly as far as Marcus and, to a lesser extent, Vincent, are concerned. It doesn't hold good for Tait, who's never really been given a chance to step on to the treadmill, but then nor do the views of Geoff Boycott, who's seemed very unsympathetic towards him.

As regular readers will know, I have the highest possible regard for Marcus, who I've been watching regularly since he was eighteen. I don't think I've ever seen Vincent play in the flesh, but I know him to be an innovative attacking batsman and an excellent fielder. Shaun Tait I have seen, and my lasting memory of him sees him scrabbling around in the Oval dust as Kevin Pietersen opens up against Brett Lee after lunch on 12th September 2005. For his sake it'd be nice to see him do something better at another time.

Good luck to one and all.

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