Posted by: tootingtrumpet | June 1, 2011

Jonathan Trott, England Cricketer of the Year – an appreciation

Jonathan Trott one year after retirement, one year into an Advanced Hair Studios contract.

I attended my first ever Test match press conference on Sunday evening and waited until the shutters were coming down to squeeze in the last question to a relaxed and contented Jonathan Trott. “What method do you use to build long innings – each ball as it comes / five overs at a time / session by session / something else?” The soft spoken Trott (and his Cape Town accent is much less prominent away from television) bristled and gave the impression that he was being invited to breach a superinjunction. He refused to divulge, but he did talk of varying his approach according to the man at the other end – Cook, Strauss, KP or Belly. I felt, partly because he was looking for a few words to avoid a proper answer, that he spoke the truth. For a man known for playing in a bubble, it was an interesting view and showed that he is rather more of a team-man than he is given credit for. So what is the evidence for his being a selfless, generous, nuanced batsman? Or does he play in the bubble of creating personal performances, as well as the bubble of concentration?

Trott’s career strike-rate is 48.35 – not Gilchristian, but not Boycottian either. In a 90 overs day with half the strike and batting career strike rates, Trott would score 131 runs, Belly 137, Cook 132,  KP 168 and Strauss 135 – so not much between the main men there. Aesthetically, Trott’s tickishness annoys some, but I barely notice it – the time between deliveries is for conversation, opening another bottle of something decent or preparing a sledge for Punter. It’s not for counting how many times a man 80 yards distant runs his foot over the crease.

But is he a game-changer? Looking at his six centuries in 19 Tests shows that he doesn’t do soft tons. Fifth Ashes Test 2009, Trott arrives with England 39-3 in their second innings and leaves with his team 373 all out. First Test vs Bangladesh 2010, he’s in at 7-1 and out at 478-8. Fourth Test vs Pakistan 2010, he sees England from 31-1 to 446 all out. Unforgettably, in the First Ashes Test 2010-11, he walks out with the scoreboard showing England’s second innings 188-1, but still 33 behind – he walks off with scoreboard stopped at 517-1. In the Fourth, Ashes securing, Test 2010-11, he has the good platform of 159-1 to work with and advances that to 513 all out (except him). Finally, in the First Test vs Sri Lanka 2011, he watched the board advance from 46-1 to 465-5. England won five of those six matches (and Brisbane was as good as a win) bolstering his record of 13 wins (seven by an innings), three draws and three defeats when playing Test cricket.

That he averages 66.77 is a statistical quirk that may settle to a more realistic 50 or so after 50 Tests. That he is not given credit for being one of the most sensational picks ever (for few in the Media were convinced of his credentials as the right man to replace Ravi Bopara less than two years ago) and as a batting phenomenon, is not realistic. It is fitting therefore to see him named Cricketer of the Year in one of England’s greatest ever 12 months of Test cricket.

Gary Naylor, whom you can tweet at @garynaylor999 and find at Cricket On FiveSpin Cricket and




  1. I gently sledged trott at edgbaston in a 2020 in 2004. He gave me a withering look. He is our Wall. England’s batting looks so strong at the moment. Kp will retire from test cricket soon……so number six is a nice spot for an all rounder. No idea who but bopara will br hungry by the time he gets his chance.

  2. Ben Stokes is the coming man.

  3. Trott looks like he can maintain or improve that average till the end of his career.
    He is kind of a super-Chanderpaul and ultra-Dravid in terms of stickiness and willingness to let runs come when they come.
    THe only reason some career records are probably safe is that he is already 30. Even then, cant be too sure he might end up with 45+ test centuries.

    But the real signs of England’s forthcoming domination of Test Cricket comes from Cook, Bell and the likes of Stokes. The next big batting unit will not be from India – blessed as they are with Kohli, Raina, Sharma et al – it will be from England.

    • Trott might get 20 Test centuries – if he is lucky and maintains this form or somewhere near it. Cook might get 45 though. Raina will have to work out a game for the short ball if he wants ten Test centuries.

  4. I’ll confess I was a Trott sceptic, but he really does look the goods. And he seems to have curtailed the fussiness a bit.

    • Yes gg – I think he realises that it uses too much energy.

      • He hardly ever hits the ball in the air. What an admirable trait.

  5. It never ceases to amaze how some batsmen (and bowlers) just seem better suited to Test match cricket than run of the mill First class cricket. Even more so for player who give the impression of not being natural showman.

    It will be interesting to follow is career over the next 5-6 seasons, but I do feel obliged to point out the following, if only to highlight the fact that in over 100 years only 1 man was able to keep such a scoring feet up for his whole career:
    IJL Trott – 19 tests 6 hundreds 1803 runs average 66.77 age 30yrs 40 days
    MEK Hussey – 19 tests 7 hundreds 1934 runs average 80.58 age 32yrs 218 days

    Mr Cricket is currently at 59 tests 13 hundreds 4650 runs average 51.09 age 36 yrs 5 days (a respectable but no longer earth shattering average of 40 in his last 40 tests).

    • Yes Jim – Mr Cricket is the antidote to Trott getting carried away. Trott is doing it from 3 though, which is very tough.

      Boycott always says that Test runs are easier to score because you play on better wickets – I’m not sure that he’s right. He is – of course.

      • always

        • If you have the technique.

  6. Well, perhaps, a certain Virendra Sehwag would agree. He certainly finds runs easier to come by in Tests than limited overs or first class. It helps that he hasnt played in England, and not much in South Africa, ofcourse.

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