England in Australia 2013-14 November 25, 2013

Trott returns home due to stress-related illness


Jonathan Trott, the England batsman, has left the Ashes tour with a stress-related illness that he has been coping with for several years and will not return for the remainder of the series.

Trott departed Brisbane on Sunday night after England's 381-run defeat in the first Test at the Gabba. He fell twice for low scores against the short-pitched bowling of Mitchell Johnson and his ability to combat fast bowling came under heavy scrutiny.

"I don't feel it is right that I'm playing knowing I'm not 100% and I cannot currently operate at the level I have reached in the past," Trott said in a statement. "My priority now is to take a break from cricket to focus on my recovery."

England have no immediate plans to call up a replacement.

The England team management have been aware for the bulk of Trott's international career that he has been struggling with a stress-related condition and suggested there were no indications that he was under any additional strain as he entered the first Test in Brisbane.

Flower and ECB managing director Hugh Morris spoke to him on the third evening of the Brisbane Test, within hours of his second-innings dismissal, and a mutual decision was quickly made that he needed to return home.

England are not ruling Trott returning to international cricket at a later date, as he has successfully managed the condition over several years, but at 32 his England career might logically be at an end.

Morris said Trott would be given as much time as he needed to recover. "Jonathan Trott is an incredibly talented cricketer who has proven himself time and again for England," he said. "Cricket is unimportant now, all that matters is that Jonathan is given time, support and space to recover."

Flower said: "Trotty has been struggling with a stress-related conditions for some time and has managed it very successfully. He's been a brilliant international batsman for England and hopefully he will continue to be a brilliant international batsman for England in the future.

"But he needs time away from this environment for a while, time with his family, time to reassess and spend some quiet time with his family. This isn't the type of environment for that type of rest and recuperation that he requires.

"I have been aware that Jonathan struggled with these things from our first contact as player and coach. It is something that has always fluctuated. I have the utmost respect for Jonathan as a bloke and a cricketer - a really successful international cricketer. I am lucky that I have been coach while he has been our no 3. He has been an absolute rock for us."

Under the management of Duncan Fletcher and more recently Flower, England have cultivated a highly professional, motivated and taut team environment that has reaped some outstanding on-field results, including the retention of the Ashes through three consecutive series, temporary ownership of the world No. 1 Test ranking and victory in the 2010 World T20 in the Caribbean.

However, some might suggest it has taken a toll on cricketers at times across the era, despite a large backroom staff covering many areas of a cricketer's physical and mental well-being.

Trott is the third England cricketer to depart a tour with a stress-related illness in recent years. The opener Marcus Trescothick left the 2005-06 India tour and the 2006-07 Ashes tour of Australia before the first Test in Brisbane, while the left-arm spinner Michael Yardy flew home from the 2011 World Cup. Neither cricketer has played for England again.

England's management have insisted that Trott's departure has nothing to do with the comments delivered by Australia's opening batsman David Warner during the Test when Warner pointedly questioned his appetite for fast bowling. To draw such a distinction would be entirely simplistic.

Morris was at pains to state: "I want to be really clear on this: Jonathan has managed a stress-related illness for a period of time. It is not down to any particular incident over the last few days."

Flower echoed that made in his press conference although the England team director was highly critical of Warner's remarks. "We've been on tour for about a month and he's had it ups and downs through that month and it's not directly related," he said.

Nevertheless, Flower did not flinch from general criticism of Warner - responding on one occasion to the suggestion that Warner was "ignorant" of the situation by suggesting it was a very good choice of word.

"I would also say that I also think players commenting about fellow professionals in the media is disrespectful. On this occasion he has got that terribly wrong. I think we set different standards to that, and one of the reasons we don't like commenting on opposition players is that we don't know what's going on in their dressing room and private lives.

"Competition on the field is fine and perfectly acceptable but having players comment on fellow professionals on the international circuit, I think he overstepped the line.

"It is a competitive environment - two proud nations trying to win an Ashes series - and that rivalry is exciting, but we also have a responsibility to behave in a certain way. Whether we like it or not, our leaders must be role models.

"The game must be played in a certain spirit, it must be competitive but like most things in life there is a balance to be had. All of us have that responsibility."

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on November 27, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    Good luck Trott.Wishing u a speedy recovery ------ from India

  • Mallik on November 27, 2013, 0:00 GMT

    We all support you, Trott! - from India.

  • David on November 26, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    Jonathon Trott, you are indeed a courageous chap. Hats off to you for the courage and fortitude you are showing in battling this debilitating condition. Know that there are many hundreds of thousands of people in everyday life battling the same demons and that these people are all behind you. You will beat this.

  • Mark on November 26, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    @Alrick V Warner: It's not just England. Jesse Ryder, Lou Vincent, Andrew Symonds, Shaun Tait to name a few others, I'm sure there's many more from other countries, including Asian ones, who just disappear off the scene without anyone knowing why who have the same thing. 1in 4 struggle with an illness like this in their lifetime, it shouldn't be surprising.

  • Izmi on November 26, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    Whether it is stress related illness or not it's no fun having to face Mitchell Johnson bowling at 150 kph whisking past your body almost every ball. After all it is part and parcel of the game and Johnson cannot be blamed for it unless the ICC enforce a maximum speed limit. The final result is that it was too hot to handle for the poms who were bowled out for a meagre score in both innings suffering virtually an innings defeat. Only an injury to Johnson could save England from a 5 nil whitewash at this stage unless they find a way of combatting his thunderbolts. Despite all the big talk before the series started it is England who are now the underdogs.

  • John on November 26, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    @Meety on (November 25, 2013, 23:06 GMT) Thing is Trott has coped with it for years and also surely it is a condition whereby only the person themselves know they are suffering and how they are dealing with it. There are obviously levels of stress and maybe Trott was only suffering mildly from stress all this time and it's just come on worse now. Maybe it all sounds worse than it is and Trott is nowhere near the stage of breakdown but also realises that his ability to focus properly may let the side down and also erring on the side of caution so that he's not risking getting into the same state as Tres. Trott seems a very grounded individual so this could well be the case

    @Alrick V Warner on (November 26, 2013, 4:35 GMT) Stress is an illness. England could be number 1 in tests and ODIs with Trott top of the ICC rankings in both and it would make him no less vulnerable

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    Johnson also started well in the previous ashes series held in australia but England bounced back and won the ashes; same thing will be happening in this ashes as well.

  • Srinivas on November 26, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    Ridiculing a human who says that he is down with a stress related illness, is heights of cowardice. In fact, Trott is a brave guy to succeed at this level even after battling his illness over an extended period of time. Guys, you don't have to bring down Trott to praise your favourite player. Show some humanity. Hell, even if you itch to compare, understand that you can't compare two bodies. Just because somebody doesn't get cancer doesn't mean somebody else also shouldn't get it. It's the same thing with mental issues and illnesses. You can't give another player's example and look down on Trott.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    Sad to see Trott's premature departure from the Ashes tour. He will be missed! This is a huge loss for England at a very trying time. I wonder why yet another English player has succumbed to a stress-related medical issue. Is it because of the pressure of winning? Are English players under that much stress back at home? Are players from other countries under the same pressures? Does it have to do with the strength of the sports media in the UK, and the large sums of money that cricketers are now being paid?

  • Perry on November 26, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    This problem wont go away till cricket streamlines its scheduling. I cant imagine being away from home for months playing in matches which are essentially meaningless. Depression is bound to set in. I think this is the second Ashes series in a year. Cricket needs a schedule.