July 7, 2012

England

Citizen Trott

Andrew Hughes
Jonathan Trott is at ease during England's press conference, Hyderabad, October 12, 2011
Jonathan Trott: So English that he could fool Yorkshiremen into thinking he was a local  © Getty Images
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Friday, 6th July
Jonathan Trott is British. It says so on his passport and he long ago passed the ECB’s cricket immigration test*. In an interview with George Dobell this week, he revealed that when he goes to South Africa, he doesn’t enjoy it much and usually flies back early. Booking a holiday, and then moaning about it from the time you arrive until the time you catch an early flight home: what could be more British than that?

I’ll be honest, as willow wavers go, he’s not one of my favourites. I respect his work, in much the same way that I might admire a really solid bit of bricklaying. You can appreciate an impressive accumulation of identically coloured rectangular bricks, one on top of the other in orthodox fashion, and you can nod approvingly at the impeccably neat mortar work, but you aren’t going to plan a day trip to see it.

He’s very good at what he does, though. Test match cricket rewards obduracy and HMS Trott is perhaps the modern game’s most successful anchor dropper. And anyone who voluntarily leaves the climate of South Africa to dwell in the land that dry forgot deserves some kind of credit. Yet, he still feels as though he has to justify his presence on these shores.

“Let me tell you, when the sun shines, there is no better country in the world than England.”

Fortunately George stopped him before he got on to Elgar, muffins or red telephone boxes. And I’ll have to take his word for it on the sunshine, I can’t really remember to be honest. The two permanent puddles outside my house (I’ve called them Dave and George) will soon be forming a small pond together, the buses are full of slugs travelling between vegetable gardens, and shoals of piranhas are window-shopping on Oxford Street.

That he has such an idyllic view of England sounds all the more remarkable when you learn that he lives in Birmingham. The second city doesn’t have a great reputation: it’s dull, it’s not much fun to look at and the accent is hard to take. But look a little more closely and you’ll see that it’s built around some substantial looking Victorian architecture that is impressive in its restrained classicism. You could say it’s the Jonathan Trott of English cities.

* For this rigorous exam, potential migrants are asked to complete the following phrases:

1. Corridor of ----- 2. My grandmother could have played that with a stick of ---- 3. Mind the ---- Tino 4. The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s ---- 5. I think it’s raining again dear, pass me the ----

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Andrew Hughes on (July 8, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment

The answers to the cricket immigration test were:

1. Uncertainty (as in the Boycott Uncertainty Principle) 2. Rhubarb, but celery is acceptable. Dynamite is not. 3. Windows 4. Willey (Circe still deserves half a point for original thinking) 5. Three possible answers to this one: Umbrella/Daily Telegraph/Gin.

Posted by Waseem F Ahmed on (July 8, 2012, 14:21 GMT)

Uncertainity Rhubarb Windows Willey D/L Sheet?

Posted by Thabo on (July 8, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

I have to agree, Birmingham is rubbish, and I've been there enough times. Very industrial and notorious for trouble. Trott has to do these things, as the UK media always look to test you. It's playing the game, as the moment disloyalty is shown to Queen and country he could be dropped and disported in one foul swoop. Lets not be naive.

KP has grown up now and he knows where he's from. He's a South African and does not hide it. He had teething problems which are expected, and handled them the way he does. The Afrikaans brutal honesty didn't wash well with the English, when he attacked Flower's predecessor.

Posted by Thabo on (July 8, 2012, 6:31 GMT)

I have to agree, Birmingham is rubbish, and I've been there enough times. Very industrial and notorious for trouble. Trott has to do these things, as the UK media always look to test you. It's playing the game, as the moment disloyalty is shown to Queen and country he could be dropped and disported in one foul swoop. Lets not be naive.

KP has grown up now and he knows where he's from. He's a South African and does not hide it. He had teething problems which are expected, and handled them the way he does. The Afrikaans brutal honesty didn't wash well with the English, when he attacked Flower's predecessor.

Posted by Si on (July 8, 2012, 4:35 GMT)

I've always believed sporting teams reflect the national psyche...you know - the yanks produce a brass band reception for the greatest ever performance seen this week. The Aussies want you to think 'she'll be right, mate'; while bemoaning being 'robbed' by home town umpiring decisions. The British are seen world wide as a bland collection of public servants - hence the inclusion of import Trott. No further evidence of the public servant mentality is required than his 'answer' to Dobells second question: GB: While most other teams utilise limited-overs specialists, the England side is increasingly similar to the Test team, isn't it? JT: For us the introduction of two new balls has been okay. We just get on with it and do what we do best. We just bat. Yep, the question is irrelevant to bureaucrats, politicians and Imported England number 3's!

Posted by Circe on (July 7, 2012, 23:11 GMT)

The answers to the test are:

1) uncertainty 2) wood 3) windows 4) Gatting 5) toast.

Did I pass? (:waits with bated breath:)

Posted by Sam on (July 7, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

1. uncertainty 2. rhubarb 3. windows 4. Willey 5. ???

I think I've failed the exam, good job I've only been outside the UK for 1 day in my life... and that England are unlikely to require my services.

Posted by Subho on (July 7, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

That is precisely the opinion i have about rahul dravid's batting. -

"I respect his work, in much the same way that I might admire a really solid bit of bricklaying. You can appreciate an impressive accumulation of identically coloured rectangular bricks, one on top of the other in orthodox fashion, and you can nod approvingly at the impeccably neat mortar work, but you aren’t going to plan a day trip to see it."

Posted by Chrisyboy on (July 7, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

Excellent cricket immigration test, Lord Tebbit will be spinning in his grave. Or should be!

Posted by ash townsend on (July 7, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

What rambling nonsense. What point are you trying to make - being slightly snide about Trott and cynical about the English weather? Bravo. Really cutting edge.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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