Trott ready to restart Test career


Published: Friday 10th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Jonathan Trott is ready to restart his England career after admitting his own unrealistic expectations drove him to “breaking point”.

Trott departed the 2013-14 Ashes series after a single Test, struggling with what was initially deemed a stress-related condition, then burnout and finally, after consultation with renowned sports psychiatrist Steve Peters, a bout of situational anxiety.

It threatened his very future in the game and when an early attempt to return to Warwickshire colours last year proved unsuccessful, his hopes of wearing the Three Lions again seemed remote indeed.

But the 33-year-old has rebuilt his credentials with all the steely determination that earned 3,763 runs in 49 Test appearances, and forced his way on to the winter Lions trip to South Africa through sheer weight of runs.

He promptly scored an unbeaten 211 against South Africa A, impressing the selectors enough to earn his full recall for the current tour of the West Indies.

He is strong favourite to be Alastair Cook’s new opening partner when the Test series begins in Antigua next week, Gary Ballance having locked down his former spot at number three, and he is eager for the challenge.

Trott now speaks openly and evenly about his struggles, many of which stemmed from the impossibly high bar he set himself.

“I think it was a culmination of playing a lot of cricket and just having an unbalanced perspective of what I needed to do to succeed – what was expected of me from myself from my team-mates,” he said.

“I set myself unrealistically high expectations that I couldn’t achieve. It just started building and I couldn’t see the wood from the trees.

“(I wanted to average) more – 70, 80, 90. When I went into the Ashes and everyone was saying I averaged 90 against Australia so I thought I had to get 90 every time. I’m on nought when I walk out and I need 90 straight away.

“I went too far.”

Trott found a pillar of support in Peters, the author of the Chimp Paradox whose sporting clients include Liverpool Football Club, snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan and Team Sky rider Sir Bradley Wiggins.

As a result of their time together, not to mention a lot of hard work on the cricket pitch, Trott feels ready to play his part in England’s future.

“I did a bit of stuff with a psychologist when I got home and a couple of weeks later I thought I could play cricket again, that it was just a case of burnout,” he said.

“We both came to the conclusion it was that and then I went back, I hadn’t played cricket, and I still had the same problems. So I had to seek advice elsewhere and luckily Steve and I have a good relationship.

“I’ve done a lot of work with Steve and you realise you just get into a situation where the expectations are almost inhuman.

“I wouldn’t say my expectations have changed. I still have high expectations of myself but just in different areas now.

“I’m just realising what’s really important – having a balanced life. This game and the time you spend on it can be all-encompassing and enveloping so it’s good to have a balanced view and I’m a huge believer in that now.

“Playing for England is something I wanted again but I didn’t know if things would go my way or if I’d have this opportunity.

“I’m very pleased and happy to be here. It’s exciting.”

Questions will inevitably arise as to Trott’s readiness for the intense scrutiny of the Test arena, as well as an exhaustive schedule that sees England play a mammoth 17 Tests in the next nine months.

The Warwickshire man can only really answer those concerns out in the middle, but he is confident his new sense of perspective will allow him to do so.

“I’ve had a few obstacles to overcome and get through and I’ve been put under pressure quite a bit to get back to this position,” he points out.

“I’ve been tested on and off the field and had to go through the ringer to get here.

“Whenever you select someone there’s an element of risk on whether they’re ready. Nobody really knows I suppose but I feel great.

“So yes, I feel really confident I can cope and do really well.”

Published: Friday 10th April 2015 by The News Editor

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