• Cricket

Trott itching to make England return

ESPN staff
February 11, 2015
Jonathan Trott endured a harmful first test in Brisbane during the 2013 Ashes before leaving the series © Getty Images

Jonathan Trott has expressed his desire to play for England again after putting his personal demons behind him.

Trott, 33, was forced to leave England's Ashes tour of Australia 14 months ago, citing stress and anxiety. Since then, he has held regular sessions with sports psychiatrist Steve Peters, who has also worked with five-time world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, as well as the England national football team.

The sessions appear to have helped Trott work his way back into cricket and, after scoring a double century for the Lions in South Africa in January, he is keen to return to the England fold as soon as possible.

"I'd love to play again," he told the Guardian. "Test and one-dayers. I wouldn't have gone on the Lions tour if I didn't want to play for England again. Whatever happens from here, if it happens, would be fantastic."

If Trott continues his impressive recent form, it would put him in line for a fascinating Ashes reunion with Australia and, in particular, Mitchell Johnson - the man whose pace and aggression terrorised him in the 2013 series.

However, contrary to the idea that he could be fearful of standing up to another barrage of 90mph bouncers from Johnson, Trott is adamant that facing Australia is vital to his recovery process.

"I want to," he said. "I need to. I want to get back out there. It's not anything to do with one individual, it's not an agenda, I want to go out and score runs against Australia. You've got to be able to face [Ryan] Harris, [Mitchell] Starc, all the guys. I think Harris is a fantastic bowler, a better bowler than Johnson even."

Captaining the Lions suggests that there is a way back into the international set-up for Trott, but with Gary Ballance established at No.3, it is likely Trott would have to force his way in higher up the order.

"I just want to play again," he says. "If I was asked to open then I'd open. I'd never really batted at No.3 before but they asked me to and I did quite well there. The difference between three and opening is not that much , you can go in second ball. I think Sam [Robson, Alastair Cook's current opening partner] is a very good player. Adam Lyth is a good player. So it'll be interesting to see where they go."

Although Trott attempted to make an early-season return as an opener at Sussex after the 2013 series, he was forced to abort the comeback for reasons entirely unrelated to his ability to play higher up the order.

"When I met Steve [Peters] he said: 'Right, you haven't got burn out, you're not depressed. You've got an unbalanced view on cricket, as soon as you go into it, it comes over you and it becomes life or death.' And that's exactly how it felt.

"It was the first time I'd spoken to somebody who understood. He said something I'll never forget. He said, 'I realise the pain that you've been going through', and no one had ever said that to me. When you're on tour you have sport psychologists but they don't try to fix the problem.

"They try and sticky tape it up so you can go out and perform. It was all about a longer process of me getting back to where I was before. After that, on the way back, I phoned my wife and I said: 'I'm going to be fine. Someone understands.'"

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