Australian media lambasted for insensitive treatment of Jonathan Trott

Jonathan Trott flew back to England from the 2013-14 Ashes series in Australia after it was revealed that he was suffering from a stress-related illness © Getty Images

Sydney: Nov 26, 2013

Australian newspapers came under fire by a leading mental health charity for being insensitive in their treatment of Jonathan Trott after it was revealed he was suffering from a “stress-related illness“. Trott flew back to England after the completion of the first Ashes 2013-14 Test in Brisbane at The Gabba.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Trott, 32, would take an indefinite break from cricket and would not be returning to the five-match Test tour, which has been tarnished by constant sledging as frustrations boiled over.

There were many players past and present who criticised Trott for his batting performances in the first Ashes Test against Australia at The Gabba in Brisbane, which England lost by 381 runs.

While Trott received widespread sympathy and support from England players past and present, several Australian newspaper headlines were taken to task by a leading mental health charity, which said they were insensitive and inappropriate.

None was cited but the Sydney Daily Telegraph said on its front page “Trott takes his bat and ball and heads home”, while The Australian referred to “Shaky Trott quits tour due to stress”.

“If Jonathan Trott had returned to the UK for attention for a broken arm, he would not have been treated so disrespectfully by some of our media,” charged the head of charity “beyondblue”, Jeff Kennett.

“That he is suffering a stress-related illness that cannot be seen is no excuse for a lack of understanding by some of our media.

“Today’s coverage just shows we have a long way to go with some in educating them how to report on mental illness.”

Trott’s illness sparked widespread commentary on cricket forums and newspaper websites, with most remarks understanding of his plight, although others suggested he should never have been selected for such a gruelling tour if his condition was already known.

Australian players apart from David Warner have not commented. Prior to revelation of Trott’s issue, Warner had said that the England batsman was “poor and weak” citing to the manner in which he batted in the first Test. The Australian opener has since explained his comments and apologised.

(With inputs from AFP)