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Jonathan Trott says he pulled out of Ashes 2013-14 due to ‘exhaustion’

Jonathan Trott says he pulled out of the Ashes series due to a burnout © AFP
Jonathan Trott missed the remaining four Test’s against Australia due to a ‘burnout’

Mar 14, 2014

The Ashes urn has long been wedged into Australia’s grasp and for Jonathan Trott the series may well remain as one of the worst of his international career after he pulled out midway through the tour citing stress related reasons.

Trott also revealed that the reason of his pull-out from the tour was due to ‘exhaustion’ and vehemently denied reports of him suffering from any depression.

“It’s pretty difficult to put into words the emotions of walking away from an Ashes tour – it’s something I thought I’d never have to do,” Trott was quoted as saying by mirror.co.uk.

Trott, who was part of the team that was crushed by 381-runs in the first Test at Brisbane did not continue any longer after that defeat and was also the subject of intense sledging by the Australians during the game.

If the shellacking received from the Australian players and media was not enough, then Trott had to endure an equally miserable time back in England where questions about his temperament were raised frequently.

Trott said that he could not bear to watch England ‘humiliated’ by the pace of Mitchell Johnson and hoped that the English could brush it off quickly and move on.

For the record even Trott endured a harrowing time against Johnson and co. in the Brisbane Test and he could only notch up scores of 10 and 9 in both innings and was dismissed by the hostile Australian pacer on both occasions.

Though Australia were deserved 5-0 winners of the Ashes after their superlative performance against Alastair Cook’s side, still the heart goes out to Trott who is just another victim of the hectic schedule that demands so much of professional cricketers.

But the good thing about Trott is that he did not hesitate to come out into the open about his physical and mental woes like most players do or do not and certainly deserves a comeback in the England side after his nightmarish period ends.

And the first step for Trott will be Bears versus Oxford University game in April in which he will represent the former and probably even lay the stepping stone to snatch back his place in the England side.

When asked about whether the four-month lay-off from cricket was enough to recharge his batteries, Trott replied:” I feel I’ve got a bit of unfinished business with England and also repaying people’s trust and the work people have put in with me in the last four months. It’s pretty difficult to put into words the emotions of walking away from an Ashes tour – it’s something I thought I’d never have to do and something I hope no cricketer has to do again.”

“I tried my hardest, but ended up finding out I had nothing left to give. I wasn’t helping anyone by being there, so coming back was the only option because on that kind of tour you can’t carry anybody. It was very difficult for me to operate at even 50 per cent of what I was capable of. I simply didn’t have the emotional energy or the mental energy to get there,” added Trott.

When queried about his so called burnout Trott said:” Throughout the summer I had been getting to 40 or 50 and I just couldn’t watch the ball as hard as I normally do – it just wasn’t there for some reason, whether I was thinking too much about cricket off the field and burning myself out that way, or just trying too hard. It was difficult when I got home – I was a bit worried about going out in public because people look at you and you don’t know what they are thinking… you know, they think, ‘There goes that nutcase’ or whatever. And you’re not quite sure about people’s perceptions. ‘Anybody would want to go on an Ashes tour and he’s just walked away from it’ [they might say], and it was tough.”

“People might come up to you and say, ‘It’s good to see you’re out and about’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not crazy, I was just burnt out! After leaving Brisbane, I slept on the flight to Hong Kong for eight hours flat – and I’ve never slept on a plane before because normally I enjoy flying,” added Trott.

When asked about how it was missing out on all the real on-field action and watching his side get dismantled by Johnson, Trott replied:” Then the guys walked out in Adelaide, things didn’t go well and a feeling of guilt started kicking in. I’d experienced a lot of good times with England and not many bad times, and seeing the guys struggling out there was pretty tough.”

“I should have been there, going through the tough times with them, and that was the hardest thing to take. They could have been thinking, ‘He’s at home with the central heating on, watching it on TV’ while the other guys are getting a barrage in Australia and I’m what felt a million miles away from it,” added Trott.

On questions of whether his choice of leaving the tour mid-way was the correct decision, Trott said:” But it was the right decision to leave because I would have been a passenger, basically. Emotionally it was hard to keep myself in check – just coming down to breakfast I would sit on my own away from the guys with my cap pulled over my head because I didn’t know how I was going to react to having to go to the cricket ground again. You are one of the senior guys in the team and yet you feel so hopeless.”

This is not the first time that an England player has pulled out of a tour mid-way with Marcus Trescothick being the earlier case when he similarly withdrew from the disastrous 2006-7 Ashes Down Under due to reasons as similar to Trott.

“I was trying my guts out and I was just exhausted physically and, more important, mentally. In the past, I had always felt confident and capable of getting big scores for England, but I found I just couldn’t do it. Maybe I was wanting it too much and getting myself stuck that way,” said Trott.

“There were times, especially towards the end of the series last summer, when I just had a headache for three or four days, just constantly in a bad place. It built up through the end of the Ashes in England, through the one-day series, and in the three weeks in between [the end of the season and taking off for Australia] – which wasn’t time off because I was working hard in the nets,” added Trott.

On questions of the workload he endured during practice sessions Trott replied:” I was doing two-and-a-half hours in the nets with Ashley Giles at the indoor school at Edgbaston, it was pretty relentless. Before the first Test, after training when everyone wanted to leave, I was still in the nets. Cookie wants to name the team, but ‘Trotty’s not here, he’s still in the nets.’ Where does it end?”

When queried about the Trescothick issue, Trott said:” There are a lot of similarities people can draw from it, and we were both very upset and confused, but it was a completely different situation from Marcus Trescothick [whose sicknote also referred to a "stress-related illness", although his symptoms were rooted in depression]. You need an emotional and mental resilience when you turn up at the ground with 50,000 people all wanting you to fail, but I just think I wasn’t there.”

“I’ve never really spoken about it before, but on my first tour I went to South Africa and I probably went through something similar towards the end of that trip. I ended up having… well, not a disaster, but at the Wanderers [the final Test, where England were blown away], I wasn’t feeling great,” added Trott.

Also Trott squashed rumours of him withdrawing from the Ashes due to the ‘fear’ of facing Johnson and co and said,” But against Mitchell Johnson in Brisbane, it wasn’t a fear of failure – I would say it was completely the opposite. It was a desire to do well, and probably putting myself under more pressure to do well. It wasn’t that I was scared to fail.”

“In Brisbane, I spoke to the doc and he said, ‘You know, if I was a GP I’d sign you off from work for three weeks’, but on a Ashes tour you can’t do that. I didn’t have anywhere to go. On day two or three, I was getting headaches, everything was a bit of a blur, I wasn’t eating properly and that’s when the sleep patterns started getting disrupted and emotionally that’s when I was worst. Everything just boiled over really, I had nothing left in the tank or the battery,” added Trott.

Trott also maintained that he was not troubled about people’s opinion of him ‘chickening’ out of the tour and said,” Obviously people have their own ideas about why I left – you know, ‘It got too tough and he ran away’ – but I gave it everything and I didn’t have the staying power to get everything right. I’m sure people will think that, and people have said that, [Trott was roughed up by Johnson and couldn't handle it], but it didn’t matter who was bowling, and that’s the hardest part to accept.”

“I’m not sugar-coating anything. I’ve been very honest with the medics and the psychologists. There’s a lot of accusations out there and it’s quite hard to take at times, but I’ve proved people wrong in the past about not fitting into the team or whatever, and I can come back from this. I don’t want to be one of those cricketers who picks and chooses. I want to be available from the word go. I’ll probably be under a cloud for a bit – ‘He left an Ashes tour, is he going to be OK, is he going to be able to come back?’ – but I certainly feel I can, I just just hope I can prove it,” added Trott.

“I know there’s a game against Scotland in May. That would be a good game to get back in the mix, back into the squad environment, and then there’s Sri Lanka,” signed off Trott.

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