Albert Trott

TROTT, ALBERT EDWIN, shot himself at his lodgings, Denbigh Road, Willesden Green, on July the 30th. He had been very ill for some time without hope of recovery and, finding the monotony of life in hospital intolerable, he thought a pistol shot the best way out. His death, in his 42nd year, was indeed a tragedy. At his best, Albert Trott was one of the greatest all-round men of his time. The misfortune was that he declined in skill so soon after reaching his highest point. There is nothing unkind in the statement that he ought to have had a much longer career.

Born in Melbourne on the 6th of February, 1873, he sprang into fame by reason of his splendid cricket against Mr. Stoddart's England Eleven in the winter of 1894-5. At that time he was the most promising young cricketer in Australia. Against the Englishmen in eleven-a-side matches he scored 331 runs in nine innings and took 19 wickets. His greatest success was gained in the Test match at Adelaide in which he scored 38 and 72, both times not out, and took in the last innings of the game eight wickets for 43 runs. In the fourth Test match of the tour, played at Sydney, he scored 86 not out, but on a bad wicket his bowling was not required.

It was taken for granted in this country that Albert Trott would come to England with the team captained by his brother in 1896 but, for some reason which has never been properly explained, he was not selected. Having been thus passed over by his own people, he came to England on his own account and, as everyone knows, qualified in due course for Middlesex. While qualifying for the county he played for the M.C.C., and in 1897 he had a record of 48 wickets for just over 14 runs each.

In 1898 he began to play for Middlesex. Injuring his hand very badly in May, he lost a month's cricket and could not, when he started playing, do himself justice. However, when the injury had healed he lost no time in asserting himself, he and J. T. Hearne bowling in such irresistible form that in August Middlesex won eight matches out of nine and drew the other. In the whole season Trott took for Middlesex 102 wickets.

Following this good beginning, Trott went to the top of the tree, 1899 and 1900 being his greatest years. It would have been hard indeed in those two seasons to find a better all-round man. In first-class matches in 1899 he scored 1,175 runs and took 239 wickets, and in 1900 his figures came out at 1,337 runs and 211 wickets. Thanks to his bowling, his hard hitting, and brilliant fielding, and also his strong personality, he became for the time more popular at Lord's than any other professional.

In those days his bowling was extraordinarily good and quite individual. Appreciably lower in delivery than most Australian bowlers, he had plenty of spin, but he depended less on break than upon an endless variety of pace. He rarely bowled two balls alike, and he could whip in his yorker at a tremendous speed. A long and very bright career seemed before him, but, unhappily, he soon began to fall off. Even in 1901, though he took 176 wickets, he was not quite the man he had been, and from that time he steadily declined. Becoming heavy and muscle-bound, he could no longer bowl the extra fast ball that had been so deadly, and batsmen ceased to fear him.

© John Wisden & Co