Somerset 2015 beneficiary Pete Trego met the press at the club’s media day this week and revealed he’s got plenty of ambitions left in the game. Jeremy Blackmore was there for The Incider, as the fans’ favourite talked fitness, football and England.
Pete Trego is not short on motivation as he enters his benefit year with Somerset, the club he originally played for as a member of the first XI in 2000.
At the age of 33, the hard-hitting all-rounder believes he’s the fittest he’s ever been and is determined to do his best for Somerset and make it impossible for the England selectors to ignore him.
Trego had a vintage season with bat and ball in 2014, proving, yet again, to be an indispensable member of the Somerset team in all three competitions, recording career-best bowling figures against county champions Yorkshire on the final day of the season.
That run of form is clearly no fluke, but the result of a lot of hard work. He’s extremely proud to talk about his training regime after taking stock of his fitness on reaching 30 and thinking about the ambitions he still had in the game.
“Without doubt I’m statistically the fittest I’ve ever been. I look the fittest I’ve ever been. And I feel the fittest I’ve ever been,” Trego said, looking extremely relaxed as he chatted to journalists in the Long Room on Tuesday morning.
“And there’s a number of reasons: (a) it’s become a bit of a hobby and passion of mine trying to get the perfect rig – and I’m sure people who follow me on Twitter and Instragram will unfortunately get the pleasure of seeing a few little training shots!
“But also I’m still hugely motivated to obviously play the best cricket I can for Somerset. I still think I should be in with a shout of playing for England, so that is the biggest motivation any sportsman can have and when the selectors see me hopefully banging all the runs and taking all the wickets I’m going to take and then they look at my Instagram, they cannot use my age or my fitness levels to be any excuse and that’s my motivation.”
What more can fan favourite Trego do after failing to win England recognition last summer, despite performances like his back-to-back one-day 100s at Edgbaston and Lord’s?
“What I could do is break a lot of records, score 1,000 one-day runs – again – and hopefully that will be enough this time after what we’ve all been put through this winter,” he replied with a wry smile.
Maintaining the level of fitness he does must be hard?
“I’ve always been fit. I don’t think I’ve missed hardly any cricket in the best part of a decade,” said Trego, but admitted that timing was key.
“You can get away with certain things in your 20s, but when the 3-0 kicks round you’ve got to revaluate and I think that’s why probably why people drop off in their early 30s and probably end up retiring around where I am now.
“I think you have to, when you get to 30, you have to take stock and really push on with the fitness side of it to stay ahead of the game. Anyone in any sport that does well has some sort of fitness regime, they look after themselves. You have to in your 30s and 40s.
“You can pretty much go to McDonald’s and go down the pub most nights in your 20s and get away with it. But your 30s are a different kettle of fish. I certainly think I’ve got the balance right.”
For many players being awarded a benefit is a sign their career is nearing a close, but Trego feels there’s a lot more to look forward to before he calls it a day.
“Being awarded a benefit was an absolute honour and a treat,” he says with obvious pride. “You start out just wanting to play and as the years tick on, the personal achievements and the achievements within the club, mount up and then bang you get awarded a benefit which is amazing, but kind of emotionally a little bit difficult to take sometimes because obviously a benefit often says you’re on the back-end of your career.
“It doesn’t feel that way but it’s been a great journey so far and I’ve got plenty more in the tank. I’m just looking to enjoy the year and focus predominately, obviously, on my job which is getting runs and wickets for the club.
“It’s going to be a really exciting year. I’ve put in a lot of effort in the winter in preparation for some events coming up, so now the cricket starts, I can leave it over to my trusty chairman to sort out the rest.”
For many years, football played a key role in Trego’s life. He spent the 2004-05 season playing for Margate as a goalkeeper as well as spells at Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon Town and Chippenham Town. Twice he scored goals from his own half when taking free-kicks. On the cricket pitch, his fielding standards are testament to hours spent in front of goal. A blinding one-handed catch on the boundary in front of the flats at Taunton in last season’s championship match against Durham is just one of many examples of his lightning reflexes.
News emerged this week that he had signed with conference side Bath on non-contract terms. However he insisted there was no playing commitment at this stage although he admitted that if he were to ever re-launch his playing career, he would love to do that at Twerton Park.
In the meantime, he will have an off the field role, training with the club and hopefully giving back a bit of his own experience to the players.
“Most people who know me know I’m very passionate about my football and played quite a few years of non-league football. It’s sort of come about really playing with the Scott Murray all-stars and a few of the Bristol City and Rovers boys in some charity events and I think I’ve done enough to catch the eye again which is great at my age and says a lot for the shape I’m in.
“So I’m going to get involved with Bath City, non-playing level at this stage, just go and train with the lads, which is something which will just add a bit of diversity to my training, get to know them, hopefully bring something to the dressing room environment there, something a bit different, just generally get involved, with a view to maybe playing in the future at some stage.
“I’ve played with a couple of the coaches there, Jim Rollo, and I think he likes the way I go about my business in the dressing room when we play these charity football matches and he thinks it will be a positive for the lads, so I’m more than happy to help out at this stage.
“I’m just doing a bit of running and training, which is going to be good for my cricket anyway, so actually putting the boots on and going to do battle is a long way off at this stage, so it doesn’t affect anything in my cricket.
“Bath City are a cracking club, play at a nice ground. If I do re-launch my football in the future, it would be fantastic to do it there, it really would be great.”
Of course, Trego isn’t the only Somerset player who has played football at a professional level in the past. Ian Botham famously played for Scunthorpe United in the 1980s and Trego can see huge benefits in players making the crossover.
“In many ways it should be encouraged,” he said. “I absolutely loved it and I was so much fitter. It took me a while to recreate the amount of running I would do in the football season. I used to come back to cricket absolutely in peak fitness.”
Brian Rose told Trego to hang his boots up in 2006 after seven or eight years of non-league football.
“I think it’s different if you’re going off playing pub football, where you’re going to get lined-up a bit. But at the end of the day if I’m playing at that sort of standard in the conference then there are people who are wanting to be professional footballers, so they’re not going to be that inclined to kick someone up in the air, because they lose three or four weeks wages if they do so.
“If you can get to that sort of level, I personally would encourage it, obviously. Slightly biased at the moment!”
The new season sees a number of major changes at the County Ground with the arrival of a new Director of Cricket, several high-profile signings and a new split captaincy arrangement between Marcus Trescothick and Alfonso Thomas.
Trego sees that split working well as a logical extension of the informal arrangements that have been in place at Taunton for some time and he backs Thomas to make an impression in limited overs cricket.
“Whenever Marcus has missed games or Thommo has missed games, they have stepped in, so it’s something that’s relatively familiar, but I suppose the official position for Thommo gives it a bit of clarity.
“Every time Thommo has taken charge of a one-day game I’ve been really impressed by the way he deals with the guys. The guys thrive underneath the style of person and cricket that he wants to play. He’s a very aggressive-natured cricketer. I don’t mean that as in a load of talk, or anything like that. It’s just that he wants the guys to go out there and express themselves, which really suits our brand of cricket we want to play here at Somerset and also suits the ages of a lot of our players as well because they’re all desperate to be let loose and Thommo will definitely encourage that.”
Trego welcomes the arrival of fellow all-rounder Jim Allenby from Glamorgan and thinks he will be a big asset for Somerset:
“Jim Allenby is a cracking bloke. We’ve seen a lot of him on the county circuit. I’ve been so impressed with him in the nets, just a quality performer. Knows his game, looks incredibly solid with the bat and obviously we know how dangerous he can be in one-day cricket as well.
“In many ways, we’ve obviously lost a couple of players but how we’ve replaced them has been (a) very smart and (b) very exciting for the club.”
Trego has first-hand experience of playing with or against Somerset’s two overseas signings for this year’s NatWest Blast during winters spent playing abroad in various T20 leagues.
“I’ve placed against Corey Anderson when I played for Central Districts in New Zealand and he can hit an incredibly long ball. Hopefully that’s a compliment from myself who can give it a reasonable nudge!
“Sohail Tanvir I also played with in a T20 competition in Bangladesh. Probably one out of every 3 batsmen who come up against him takes two overs just to get used to his action, which obviously in T20 is a huge asset. He’s very unique and definitely brings a new dimension to our attack.”
We say: Pete Trego has been a true servant of Somerset cricket over the years and thoroughly deserves his benefit. It’s typical of the man that far from looking to sit back and simply enjoy his year, he’s eying new targets and putting in a lot of hard work to maintain the high standards he sets himself. Trego is very much the heartbeat of this team and having a fit and firing PT will help ensure Somerset are competitive in all three competitions.