Ian Jonathan Leonard Trott
April 22, 1981, Cape Town, Cape Province
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Top order batter
Sometimes first impressions can prove unerringly accurate. On his second XI debut for Warwickshire in 2002, effectively a trial game, Jonathan Trott scored a dominant 245 that suggested the arrival of a special talent. It was, after all, the highest score by a debutant in the history of Second XI Championship cricket and convinced Warwickshire to sign Trott, unlike Kevin Pietersen in a similar situation three years earlier. But not Trott. He smashed his bat in frustration after his dismissal. This was a man whose hunger for runs would not be easily sated.
Starting well was a theme of Trott's career. In 2003 he made a century on first-class debut as an opener for Warwickshire against a strong Sussex attack - he was 96 not out at lunch - and in 2009 he made a century on Test debut at The Oval. To have played such a significant part in England winning an Ashes decider earned his reputation as a technically correct, temperamentally sound top-order batsman. Though less glorious tours of South Africa and Bangladesh followed, Trott sealed his reputation with a double-century against Bangladesh at Lord's and a masterful 184 against a Pakistan side at the same ground. Though the match was later tarnished by spot-fixing revelations, Trott later said he considered the innings his best as he defied Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif and helped rescue England from 102 for 7.
Trott went on to play a key part in England retaining the Ashes in Australia in 2010-11 - the first time they had won a Test series there in nearly a quarter of a century - with centuries at Adelaide and Melbourne and the defeat of India in England the following summer to assume the No.1 Test ranking. His standing as the finest No. 3 England had possessed for many years was confirmed. Despite a relatively lean 2012, during which he averaged 38.65, Trott's remarkable consistency was demonstrated by a run at the start of the following year, when his lowest score in 17 consecutive Test and ODI innings was 27, with two hundreds and six half-centuries.
Born in Cape Town to a British father and South African mother, Trott played for the South Africa side from Under-15 to Under-19 level, graduating into the Boland and then the Western Province teams. His future in the South Africa side looked assured. But Trott, never easily satisfied, wanted more. Bored by further education - he admits he had to look at the blackboard to even spell the subject during the psychology portion of his exam in the Human Movement Science degree he abandoned at Stellenbosch University - he took advantage of his British passport and his relationship with Bob Woolmer, who coached South Africa and Warwickshire, to arrange a trail in England. He soon embraced the club and country with a passion, marrying the granddaughter of former club captain HE "Tom" Dollery and insisting he felt "completely British" and that he preferred Birmingham to Cape Town.
There have been some downs amid the ups. In 2007, in the middle of Mark Greatbatch's unhappy period as director of cricket at Edgbaston, Trott endured a chronic loss of form that saw him average only 22 and Warwickshire suffer relegation in both first-class and List A formats. Oddly, he made his international debut that season having been called into the England T20I team. After breaking his hand in the nets prior to the match, it was one of the few times he made an underwhelming debut.
Despite setting a record in 2009 for the most runs in an English domestic T20 season of 10 matches, some have never accepted his value as a limited-overs player, either. While Trott's ODI average in excess of 50 is substantially higher than any regular England player in ODI history, his strike-rate of around 75 was a source of constant discussion - never more so than during the 2013 Champions Trophy, when the make-up of England's top three was questioned. The records showed, however, that when Trott flourishes, England flourished too, and he was their leading run-scorer as they narrowly failed to win the competition.
His presence at the crease had arguably become the most reassuring sight in English cricket since the retirement of Graham Gooch. His prolonged marking of his guard was as near as cricket got to a national talking point. But when he abruptly left England's 2012-13 Ashes tour after the first Test in Brisbane with a stress-related illness, England's director of cricket, Andy Flower, bemoaned the loss of his "rock".
An early attempt at a comeback at the start of the 2014 season had to be aborted after it transpired there would be no quick fix to his problems and a discomfort against the short ball became more apparent. But, after a break, he returned strongly towards the end of the season, ending the Royal London One-Day campaign as the highest England-qualified run-scorer and helping Warwickshire to second place in the Championship. It was enough to win him a recall to the Lions squad for the tour of South Africa and, following a double-century there, a Test recall in the Caribbean.
Asked to open the batting, he reached double-figures only once in six innings and suffered three ducks as it became apparent that he was still troubled by anxiety problems. It was no surprise when he announced his retirement from international cricket at the end of the tour. He played on for Warwickshire until 2018, a consummate team man. His final summer was relaxed and productive, helped by his early announcement of his intention to retire. As it wound down, there was even a double century stand with Ian Bell against Kent to encourage nostalgia. "There are only so many runs you can score," he said when it was all over.
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