England in India 2012-13

Trott prefers to bat at No.3

David Hopps

October 21, 2012

Comments: 86 | Text size: A | A

Jonathan Trott plays the ball into the off side, England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day, July 19, 2012
Jonathan Trott: "If asked to open I'd have to - or I'd like to - do what the team wants me to" © AFP
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Players/Officials: Kevin Pietersen | Jonathan Trott
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: England

Jonathan Trott has said that he would prefer to stay at No.3 during England's Test series in India after the late inclusion of Kevin Pietersen had encouraged debate about whether he should be asked to open the innings.

Andrew Strauss' retirement from Test cricket had left England contemplating a choice between two uncapped openers - Yorkshire's Joe Root and Nick Compton of Somerset - alongside Alastair Cook at the top of the order.

But the addition of Pietersen to the squad after his long-standing dispute with the England hierarchy was settled has given England the option of opening with Trott, tried and trusted, and giving Pietersen the No.3 spot that he has made his own in averaging more than 50 over 34 Tests, but whose form has faltered in the past year.

"I've enjoyed batting No.3 in my career, since my second Test match when I was put in that position, and I feel like I've done a pretty good job there," Trott told Sky Sports News. "But, if asked to open I'd have to - or I'd like to - do what the team wants me to. No.3 is my preference but we'll just have to wait and see. I don't think it will come to that."

With Pietersen then likely to bat at No.4 and Ian Bell regarded as a certainty in the top six, retaining Trott at three would leave Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel vying for the final batting spot.

Trott became the latest player to voice support for Pietersen's return after a 73-day exile following his outburst after the end of the Headingley Test against South Africa that he might have played his last Test for England.

"Kevin is a world-class player and if you want to be a successful team you need your best players playing," Trott said. "As long as everything has been straightened out between Kevin, the ECB and the management squad then hopefully everything can be laid to bed - and I think everything has been.

"We had our meetings with him - I think that's been widely reported - and everything went pretty smoothly. I've never really had any problem with Kev, I've always enjoyed playing with him and it's time to get back playing some good cricket."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (October 24, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

@Nayel_19 on (October 23 2012, 15:50 PM GMT) Re Bell - I'm not necessarily saying that we have great players of spin out there at all but I was more pointing out that Bell's record in SC/SC conditions vs spin is very poor. To me Bell is extremely gifted but is very much a momentum player. He can go through spells of being magnificent and then spells of looking clueless. I'm not saying Bell should be outed by any means , just that I'm not totally convinced he'll do well out there either.I'm not sure Eng have missed a trick re Morgan and Bopara. Neither have been hugely successful in the test arena. Morgan was clueless in UAE and Bop has looked worse than ever late this summer and like Bell I see him as a confidence player and right now that particular aspect is near empty

Posted by JG2704 on (October 24, 2012, 22:11 GMT)

@Nayel_19 - Re Patel - I see him as more a bits and pieces type player. As a spinner , I see him as more of a containing bowler than a wicket taker. If he was playing I'd see him as a batsman who bowls a bit rather than a bowler who gets some runs and to be honest - and I might be wrong - I'm not sure if he'll get enough wickets or enough runs out there. I'd more favour him to score runs. If they play 6 batsmen - as they prob will - then he could be a worthwhile 6 or 7 as his overs would at least ease the workload of the other 4 bowlers. I've done my side before and I'd like them to squeeze Onions into a 5 man bowling attack but I don't think they'll use him at all which is a shame as he's probably been the most consistent seamer in county cricket over the last decade

Posted by Meety on (October 24, 2012, 4:48 GMT)

@SamuelH on (October 23 2012, 11:32 AM GMT) - I don't think it would hurt him to be around the squad. Just on Root's average though, I agree he is better than what what his record says, that being said, it is not a given he would do any better in our Shield as it has generally been tough going for top order batsmen against the seamers in Oz for a few years now. It's hard to say for sure - but at the moment, Oz have a pretty good spread of pace talent across all the States, we've got some good uns atm! Basically we're on the same page.

Posted by Nayel_19 on (October 23, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

JG2704 on (October 22 2012, 21:20 PM GMT) My point of picking Patel is to have a spin bowler who can score some runs (not just hanging there but score runs). The innings he played at Wc T20 is an example of what he can do against spinners. Besides having bowlers who can score some runs for you always help. I agree with you that he is a containing bowler but the conditions are going to help spinners so he might change his approach & containing in this conditions will also be a great job. He can put pressure from 1 end & Swann can attack from the other. I picked Bresnan ahead of Broad but I don't think Bresnan will play atleast the first 2 matches as Broad is too heavy player to be dropped (T20 captain!)..If Broad plays i think he will have to go back to his previous approach of bowling short balls, because I don't think bowling full will help as the ball will hardly swing & Indian batsman always have some issues with short bowls. Kohli & Pujara are the batsman to watchout for England..

Posted by Nayel_19 on (October 23, 2012, 15:50 GMT)

JG2704 on (October 22 2012, 21:20 PM GMT) I understand your point regarding Bell but then who will you play in place of him? Root? Dont you think playing a debutant in this conditions will be harsh to the team as well to the player himself? Its better to have a experienced player who knows this conditions & can adapt. Trust me the pitches are going to be as flat as it can get & a player like Bell's class can make a mark.Add to that you already have a player making his debut at the top of the order so playing 2 debutants will be a poor decision. I'd have loved to see Morgan & Bopara in this squad who have played in this conditions more then any other batsmen in the team except KP. England selectors have missed a trick surely!

Posted by SDHM on (October 23, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

@Meety - with his average, you have to remember the circumstances; the fact that he opens the batting at Headingley and the start of his career has coincided with some of the most bowler friendly summers in the past couple of decades, in a domestic league chock-full of bowlers with the nous to exploit the conditions has a lot to do with it. Under those conditions, an average of 38 is actually pretty good - certainly, if he was currently a young batsman transposed to India or Australia you could quite comfortably add a good few runs to that I think. All that said, I do agree he shouldn't really be in the squad; he's too green. I personally think he's in the squad as back-up, but I'd prefer him to actually go and play some cricket in the EPP as opposed to sit around carrying drinks and batting in the nets.

Posted by vrn59 on (October 23, 2012, 10:40 GMT)

Trott is right: he's been comfortable and successful batting at No. 3, and it would be a risk to move him up to the opening slot on such a big tour. Root should be made to shadow the Test team for another year so that he matures as a player, and in the meanwhile, Compton should debut as Cook's opening partner: he's mature and experienced, and seems to be a much safer option. With Pietersen and Bell at 4 and 5 respectively, the batting looks quite decent. I'd rather have a proper batsman at 6 and leave Prior at 7 though. Bairstow or Morgan could be tried there. Anderson and Swann are both certainties in the bowling department, and I think Panesar should be brought in on subcontinental pitches too, although he must improve his fielding. There'll be a bit of a face-off between Broad and Finn, but I'd personally pick Broad. He bowled well in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka earlier in the 2011-12 season, and if he keeps his pace up, he's fantastic with the new ball and is also a handy batsman.

Posted by zenboomerang on (October 23, 2012, 4:36 GMT)

@mikey76... Some v.g. points - I'm pretty open minded when it comes to Root or Compton - but I definitely want one of them rather than promoting a middle order batsman to open... Prior batted at no.6 in the SL series, so for me its Anderson, Finn, Swann, Panesar with a choice between Patel, Bresnan, Broad, Onion - selectors may go for safety in Patel (new opener playing)... India will have made slow turning pitches to suit their strength in batting (home conditions) & their lack of a good 3rd seamer... Batting 1st could be the match winner...

Posted by zenboomerang on (October 23, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

@JG2704... Monty would be my pick ahead of Patel as well, while Onions is the perennial bridesmaid - think he would have done more damage than Broad did against the Saffa's... Will Swann need injections to get through this tour?... Worries me a bit as he was the best bowler in SL along with Jimmy (for Eng)... Sorry don't agree on moving KP up the order - after recent issues I feel it is more important that he settles back into his old position for team stability... Also KP wasn't crash hot in the UAE, though he did come good in the last Test in SL (MoM)... Maybe the selectors will have Prior at no.6 like in the SL series?... 5-1-5?...

Posted by zenboomerang on (October 23, 2012, 3:52 GMT)

@Tigg :- "Englands seam attack are their main weapon here. Spin won't beat India"... Against Pak in UAE Swann & Panesar were the chief wkt takers, while in SL it was Swann followed by Anderson... For their opposition it was Ajmal & Rehman in UAE while Herath in SL... Unless your 3rd seamer/spinner is in v.g. form or a good allrounder then they can become a liability - both Bresnan & Patel could fill that role, but their batting hasn't been up to scratch this year... KP cannot bowl long spells - 3rd Test in UAE in the 2nd innings Swann & Panesar bowled 95 overs between them - couldn't see KP bowling 20 overs, let alone 50... Check out KP's stats & come back to me :) ...

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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