It’s been more than a little disappointing to read Trott being accused of being a bottler or a quitter after his interviews in which has said he wasn’t depressed – he was burnt out and exhausted.
At the time, the ECB described it as a “stress-related illness” and one that he had battled with for some time.
Perhaps, with hindsight, it would have been better to describe what Trott was suffering from a little more clearly and accurately. The term “stress-related illness” is interpreted as a serious mental illness which could range from depression to anxiety to a full on breakdown.
In reality, what Trott was suffering from was mental and physical exhaustion which rendered him unable to play to the high standards he expected of himself and that we had come to expect from him. He and the ECB medics took the decision that he needed a break from cricket and he needed to come home.
I spoke to a GP friend to ask what he would do if someone came to him describing the symptoms that Trott has said he was suffering from. He said that almost certainly he would sign the person off work for a while to start with and see if rest and a break resulted in recovery. If it didn’t, he would investigate whether a more serious mental illness was the cause and then recommend appropriate treatment.
That’s quite pertinent – Trott leaving Oz was the equivalent of you or I being signed off work by the GP for a bit. Where’s the controversy there? It happens daily to hundreds of people in the country.
The notion that Trott was scared of fast bowling is, quite frankly, ridiculous and something cited by people who’ve clearly forgotten the years when Trott has been very successful against fast bowling. Short memories by some.
Trott was mentally and physically exhausted. It had rendered him incapable of being able to play cricket or cope with the pressure of the international sporting arena. In some part, the ECB must take some blame for this. What we expect of our cricketers is ridiculous. It’s too much. It’s a serious miracle that more of them aren’t burnt out.
It is surely a braver decision to admit that you’re struggling and that you need a break than to try and guts it out in a macho bravado way. In the male sporting environment, it’s not easy to admit a weakness. It takes some guts to hold your hands up and say “it’s no good, I’m going to have to stop”. This applies to Graeme Swann’s retirement as much as it does to Trott’s decision to quit the tour.
It’s not a weakness, it’s brave. It goes against the grain of the testosterone filled macho environment of the sporting world.
It’s here I have to declare an interest. I struggle to be entirely objective when discussing Jonathan Trott for this reason.
Earlier in the year, a great friend and the owner of SPIN cricket magazine, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given weeks to live. Jonathan wrote this friend a very personal, hand written letter. I won’t divulge the contents as they were personal. But despite everything that was going on with Jonathan at the time, he found the time and the compassion to write a heartfelt letter and make a phone call and in our friend’s darkest hour – when he was dying – Jonathan brought some light and a smile.
Trott is a straightforward and honest man. Cricket is and has been his life – to his own detriment. There’s no conspiracy here. There’s no hidden agenda. There was no attempted. cover up of a man quitting cos he couldn’t hack it.
It really is very straightforward. Trott was exhausted – mentally and physically. He’d burnt out and stress was a factor. If he’d been a “normal” person, he’d have gone to the doctor and the doctor would have signed him off work for a bit. How is this any different?
It isn’t. He had some time off to rest and recuperate. And now he’s ready to get back in the saddle.
He hasn’t assumed that he will walk straight back into the England team – he has merely thrown his hat into the ring for selection. He knows that he needs to demonstrate to the selectors and the public that he’s back firing with the bat and inside his head. He wants to do that.
It’s really not sinister – it’s a simple thing.
The ECB may want to think about how he got into that state in the first place and whether they way they described things to the media and public at the time was the correct way but Jonathan himself has nothing to feel guilty or sorry about.
It’s disappointing that some are so ready to cast stones.
The ICC U19 World Cup provides a opportunity to play the fun game “which of these lads is going to go on and play Test cricket”.
This is the tenth edition of the u19 world cup in its current guise and it takes place every two years. Before that there was something known as the “Macdonalds Bicentennial Youth World Cup” which took place in the winter of 1987/88.
I’ve had a look back at all of these world cups including the one sponsored by Chicken Mcnuggets to see how many of the young talent that played for England went on to have a fully fledged International career.
1987/88 Bicentennial Youth World Cup
The “England young cricketers” squad that took part in this tournament in Australia contained eight who went to play at least one Test match.
Mark Ramprakash, Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Chris Lewis, Warren Hegg (2 Test matches), Martin Bicknell (4 Tests), Simon Brown (One Test)
and those who didn’t go on to play Test cricket: Harvey Trump and James Boiling (Surrey and Durham)
We then have to skip forward ten years to find a new reincarnation of a World Cup for this age group.
The u19 World Cup winning squad of 1998 was the subject of an excellent book by David Tossell called “Following on” which tracked the differing paths that those who were part of the squad followed after the World Cup.
The Squad contained 4 players who went on to Test honours: Rob Key, Graeme Swann, Owais Shah and Chris Schofield.
The tournament took place in Sri Lanka and was won by India. The England squad contained such names as ex-Pippa Middleton Boyfriend Alex Louden who played just one ODI plus Ian Bell, Michael Carberry and the very famous sub-field Gary Pratt. (so just two who went on to Test honours).
The 2002 U19 World Cup took place in New Zealand. Three of the England squad – Nick Compton, Samit Patel and Tim Bresnan have gone on to Test honours.
Took place in Bangladesh and was won by Pakistan who beat the West Indies by 25 runs.
7 of the England squad have gone on to full International honours. 6 of them with Test caps and 1 with ODI caps only.
Test honours: Alastair Cook, Samit Patel, Steve Davies, Tim Bresnan, Ravi Bopara, Liam Plunkett
Played in Sri Lanka. Pakistan beat India by 19 runs in the Final
As yet none of this team have received International honours. The squad was captained by Rory Hamilton-Brown and contained names such as Durham’s Mark Stoneman, Notts Steven Mullaney and Graeme White and Middlesex’s John Simpson.
We are getting a bit more recent so many of these players still have every chance of breaking into the Test team – players such as Wark’s Varun Chopra and Worc’s Mooen Ali who has just been called up to England’s World T20 squad.
Held in Malaysia and won by India.
From the England squad James Taylor, Steven Finn and Chris Woakes have gone on to Test caps but others such as James Harris and Stuart Meaker may yet still
Held in New Zealand and won by Australia. 2010 is too recent to assess who will go on and have an England career but so far Ben Stokes and Joe Root have Test honours. Jos Buttler and Danny Briggs have ODI and T20 caps.
Took place in Australia and was won again by India. Too recent for any to have broken into the full Test team but names such Ben Foakes, Jamie Overton and Reece Topley are tipped for bright futures.
- Almost all of the news today centres around the ICC position paper which will be voted on this week at a meeting of Chief Executives in Dubai.
- Mike Atherton has been particularly critical of it in The Times (the quotes are on cricinfo). I’d also recommend reading Mike Selvey’s piece in the Guardian and Sambit Bal’s piece on cricinfo – both of which provide some balance. Essentially almost everyone is agreed it’s a terrible proposal that is steeped in self-interest but as Selvey and Bal both point out it might be the necessary one to keep India “in the tent” as it were.
- Shaun Marsh and James Faulkner are both injury worries for Australia ahead of the T20 series and the South Africa Tour. Both picked up injuries in the final ODI. Marsh has had a scan on his calf and Faulkner has had a scan on his knee. Faulkner was not due to fly to SA with the rest of the squad as he was due to be playing in the three T20s against England.
- Durham have signed Scotland batting all rounder Calum Macleod. Macleod is currently representing Scotland in the 2015 World Cup qualifiers and recently scored 175 against Canada. The 25 year old has played 11 first-class matches averaging 23 and has played for Scotland and Warwickshire.
- Glamorgan are set to appoint Mark Wallace as captain for the LVCC and 50 over competitions. Jim Allenby is in line to regain the T20 skipper role which he held in 2012 until relinquishing the role to Marcus North last season.
- Graeme Swann has said that not even Mike Brearley could have captained England better than Cook did this winter. I’ll let you make your own mind up about that. (clue – it’s bollocks)
Another slow news day today. Weekends are generally a bit slower than week days.
- Most of today’s news has centred around how on earth England managed to lose the fifth and final ODI of the series.
- Graeme Swann has given very public backing to Kevin Pietersen saying England shouldn’t ditch him and that there is nothing wrong with his attitude. If even Swann is saying that it seems the only person with a problem is Flower (and possibly Cook)
- There’s been more criticism of the ICC position paper. This time from Clive Lloyd, Malcolm Gray and Malcolm Speed. Whilst Imran Khan has said that the draft proposal might have some benefits for the West Indies Cricket Board.
- As we’ve known for a while, England’s squad for the West Indies tour will be the T20 squad even though the tour comprises 3 ODIs and 3 T20s. England had hoped to change it to 6 t20s ahead of the T20 world cup but that wasn’t possible.
- New Zealand have announced their squad for the forthcoming Test series against India (a two Test series). It contains no real surprises but Jesse Ryder is in as cover for Ross Taylor who’s wife is expecting their second baby during the series.
I fractured my shoulder playing hockey today but as I am so dedicated I’m bringing you the news in brief anyway.
Slow news day today though
- Unsurprisingly Haroon Lorgat (CSA Chief dude) will be in Dubai for next week’s vital ICC meetings at which the position paper will be discussed but he cannot take part in any of the deliberations due to restrictions placed on him by the BCCI. CSA will instead be represented by their chief financial officer Nassei Appiah. – Under terms of an agreement last year with the BCCI, Lorgat is not supposed to enagage in any meetings of the ICC chief executives – even though he is a chief executive. Yes really.
- Chris Tremlett has returned to England having been ruled out of the rest of the Big Bash with a “slight” elbow injury
- Ben Stokes has been fined 15% of his match fee for breach of the ICC code of conduct during the 4th ODI. He was fined for the “offensive language” he used to James Faulkner whilst giving him a good old send off
- The rest of the news is mostly about Ravi Jadeja who I think has been made some sort of deity in India after carting 18 off the final over to tie India’s match against NZ.
- Also Darren Lehmann has singled out Glenn Maxwell for criticism after Australia’s loss in the 4th ODI. Seems a bit harsh to me
Some (ok a few) people said they found these useful so I’m resurrecting the news round-up.
- Northants all-rounder David Willey has said he will not try to and get an IPL contract this time round despite some interest from within India. He has decided to concentrate on getting fit and continuing to try and break into the England team – something he is tipped to do.
- Willey’s teammates Steven Crook and Azhar Ullah have put themselves into the IPL auction which will take place on 12th and 13th February. Northants overseas player Jackson Bird has also entered the auction.
- Cash-strapped Durham are unlikely to be able to find the funds to get a replacement for Ben Stokes who is expected to miss much of the season on International duty. Durham Coach Jon Lewis told BBC Newcastle that the county are unlikely to have any significant spare resources available to try and recruit a replacement. The county does receive £2000 every time they lose him to England duty but are not paid until after the event making financial planning tricky. It would be easier if he had a central contract rather than the incremental one he is on at the moment but they aren’t awarded until the Autumn. Durham may also suffer by losing Onions and Borthwick to England duty at various point during the summer.
- Sussex have announced their academy intake for 2014 which includes three girls.
- Alastair Cook has had a change of heart about captaining England’s ODI team. Having sounded after the third ODI like he was very much thinking about stepping down he stated prior to today’s victory that he was speaking emotionally and now he wants to continue and lead England into the 2015 World Cup.
- In the on-going saga of the IPL spot-fixing investigation, a suspected bookie who is said to be in touch with the suspended cricketer Ajit Chandla, has been granted bailed by a court in Delhi.
- In non-cricketing news, Phil Tufnell has had a hair transplant.
For no reason other than I thought it might be interesting I thought I’d add up how many times each Test nation is due to or already hosted each other Test nation and in what format during the duration of this FTP. The current FTP runs from April 2010 to March 2020.
And in Eurovision song stylie the results are as follows.
|England at Home|
|Australia at Home|
|India at Home|
|NZ at Home|
|Pakistan at Home||(home being the UAE or elsewhere rather than the literal sense of “home”)|
|South Africa at home|
|Sri Lanka at Home|
|West Indies at Home|
|Zimbabwe at home|
|Bangladesh at home|
This is very England and English Domestic focused – sorry the rest of the world
1) Australia all out for 65 v India in Champions Trophy warm-up match
Well that’s never not funny is it?
2) Stuart Broad not walking at Trent Bridge. And I love him all the more for it
3) Samit Patel’s hilarious run out
I don’t like Samit being the perpetual butt of jokes but this never stops being funny
4) Richard Pyrah’s stunning catch against Notts in the Championship
A worldie – as they say. Pyrah on as a sub took this stunner off Plunkett to dismiss Samit.
5) David Willey’s hat trick on Finals Day
6) Ricky Ponting’s Final first class innings
Here he is leaving the first-class arena for the final time after scoring 169* for Surrey
7) Durham lift the County Championship trophy
8) Ben Stokes maiden Test century
In an otherwise utterly crap Ashes tour – this has to bring a smile to the face
9) Moeen Ali wins PCA player of the year
The beard that everyone fears was rightly awarded player of the year at the PCA awards in September
10) David Hussey finished his time with Notts
David Hussey finished his life on the county circuit on a high winning the YB40 trophy for his adopted English side Nottinghamshire. It was a match that also saw 2005 Ashes Hero Simon Jones call time on first-class and list A cricket although has said he’s in the market for a T20 contract