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Trott underlines Test qualities

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Oliver Brett | 19:08 UK time, Thursday, 27 May 2010

When Jonathan Trott reached his 150 on a somewhat trying day for cricket supporters at Lord's, most stood to applaud him. But this was no spontaneous, exuberant clapping, it was dutifully appreciative - as though they had just listened to a speech from the Lord Mayor at a summer fete.

And yet Trott's achievement on the opening day of the first Test of the summer was significant. After the best possible start to a Test career - a century on debut in an Ashes decider, no less - there had followed an awkward comedown featuring six Tests in South Africa and Bangladesh with a top score of 69.

trott_blog_getty.jpgTrott has the qualities to make a name for himself in Test cricket - photo: Getty

In the match in Johannesburg in January
, he had looked particularly ill at ease, a mere shadow of the man who had kept Mitchell Johnson and co so effortlessly at bay last August at The Oval.

With the necessary caveat that England's opponents on Thursday were "only Bangladesh", Trott gave some sort of indication that the number three position - an area of vexation for England's management with Ian Bell, Owais Shah and Ravi Bopara all having failed to nail down that spot - may have found an occupant who can stand the test of time.

Trott ended the day unbeaten on 175. He scored his first 50 pretty brightly, off just 75 balls, as he drove sweetly through the gaps with crisp footwork. He moved from 50 to 100 with some alacrity (58 balls), but when Bangladesh went on the defensive, posting fielders in his scoring areas, he was unworried.

His third fifty was by far his slowest. It took 110 balls. At no stage did he seem remotely flustered and by the end he had changed gear again, with three sweetly-struck boundaries coming in the last eight overs.

In a fillip for the County Championship, it certainly helped that he entered the match with a big century for Warwickshire, against a strong Lancashire attack, behind him.

If England have a natural entertainer in their armoury in Kevin Pietersen, who played prettily for a short while before an ugly shot brought about his rapid demise, in Trott they have the anti-entertainer.

And to have a batsman who can simply go about his business, and play a long innings with several changes of pace, is no mean thing.

There are no extra prizes for scoring your runs stylishly in Test cricket, and mostly it matters not how quickly you get them when you bat in the top three. When England face Australia in Brisbane this November, a really boring, long innings from Trott to start off the campaign will go down very nicely indeed.

I remember interviewing the former New Zealand batsman Mark Greatbatch three summers ago when Trott had been brought into Peter Moores' first one-day squad.

Greatbatch, who was then Trott's county coach at Warwickshire, said the South African-born player had benefited enormously from working with the county's sports psychologist - learning processes and routines that helped him to focus on his batting.

Occasionally he almost looks too focused, if such a thing is possible. He can get a bit blinkered - he is not a great runner between the wickets - and he has not taken particularly well to Twenty20 or one-day internationals, where he has less time to get his eye in.

But, if we can assume that the Johannesburg Test was an anomaly, Trott showed on Thursday that he might have the right qualities to make a name for himself in Test cricket.

As a friend summed up in a rhyming text message: "I know the bowling and fielding weren't that hot but that was an impressive knock by Trott."


  • Comment number 1.

    i think trotts inning was good but to be fair the attack and the pitch didnt had much life in it...

  • Comment number 2.

    It was an impressive knock by Trott, whilst it is easy to be dismissive of the Bangladeshis being able to bat all day isn't an easy task.

  • Comment number 3.

    I hope Trott can nail down the number 3 slot. Oliver makes note of the up and down nature of Trott's scores since his Ashes debut but it is pertinent to remember that, prior to this Test, Trott has batted at 5 (debut), 3 (4 Tests against SA and 1 against Bangladesh) and 2 (the final Test in Bangladesh). With his 'too focused' approach, he strikes me as the sort of player who really needs to understand what his role and position is in the side.

    With that heavily focused approach, it may be wise to restrict him to Test cricket only in order to get the very best from him. I don't see him fitting into the T20 side at all and even the 50 over game doesn't present a natural slot for him, as Strauss will be the obvious anchorman in the 50 over game. It's arguable that Michael Vaughan added pressure onto himself by trying to be a limited overs batsman when his real strength was Test cricket. Many sides in the world are happy to have T20 specialists (David Warner being an obvious example) so having Test only players seems totally fine to me.

    A good knock. I hope we'll declare about an hour after lunch, and get 10 to 15 overs at them before tea. Get the hammer down with the bat tomorrow after the first hour and really try to dominate the bowlers.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think "anti-entertainer" is a bit harsh, and comparing him as a polar opposite to Petersen equally as harsh. If this was anyone but an England batsmen, we would be calling him a "good solid batsman who knows how to stay in for a long knock", yet he's English, so he gets labelled as an "anti-entertainer".

    For the record, Petersen gets out too cheap a lot of times, so if thats what passes for entertainment, then give me anti-entertainment any day of the week and twice on sundays. England have been crying out for someone who can produce long, productive innings on a regular basis for years, so why not try some encouragement, rather than throwing mild insults at him? Just a thought.

  • Comment number 5.

    Congratulations Trott.

    To the many who are knocking the oppostion (the web seems full of them) I say forget the opposition.

    Trott was today not competing against the bowlers, but the other batters. If the opposition were as weak as we are led to believe then why no other Tons? He scored more than double his closest challenger, Strauss, who scored more than double his, although of course Morgan is still at the crease.

    Cook's dismissal was not out, he cannot be blamed for it. Strauss's and KP and Bells were their fault, the reason Trott is still in is because he didn't get himself out.

    That is a trait that is very usefull in Test cricket.

    Now lets forget about Trott beating other batsmen, and look relative to himself, the only fair comparision would be how he did away against Bangladesh, (same team different conditions) in which comparision he is much improved and against the Aus (different team similar conditions) where he is doing almost as well (if you cout 1 run against bangladesh as 1/2 against the aus) and of course, he's still in.

    Trott is a very similar player to Collingwood, and he's someone I'm not worried about coming in when we loose a wicket. Last summer when we lost a wicket I always thought we were only moments away from loosing another, or more.

    Trott is obviously a work in progress, but he has the talent, ability, concentration and patience to be a success at No 3, all the other options fall short in at least one of those 4 areas.

  • Comment number 6.

    Congratulations to centurion Jonathan Trott.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 7.

    Preceding from the assumption that Graeme Swann's prodigious spin will continue throughout the English Summer and that he will tie up one end during the Ashes, we will have the luxury of being able to go into the Ashes with 6 specialist batsmen and still have a decent chance of taking twenty wickets in a match. There is a strong counterargument we will need 4 seamers.

    Strauss, Cook, Pietersen and Collingwood's places are assured. Which leaves Trott, Bell, Morgan and anyone else who emerges fighting for the scraps of one or two places.

    I am going to stick my neck out and say Jonathan Trott is the most natural number three England have had this century and must be in the side.

    It's really disappointing to see him described in such negative terms. If Rahul Dravid bats a test innings at a strike rate of 30-40 it is described as an "effective rearguard action" or a "defiant knock". If someone does it in an England shirt, in this case Trott, it is "anti-entertainment", "boring" and "dull".

    We have been crying out for a number three to anchor our Test Match batting line up for a long, long time and long, long may Trott's long, long innings continue.

  • Comment number 8.

    It proved that he can maintain concentration.

    Whether he can replicate his form against Test nations rather than whipping boys remains to be seen. As Sehwag said last year, the Bangladeshis were not good enough to take 20 Indian wickets once. Their bowling attack is not good enough.

    Hopefully, he can take this experience into bigger matches where his team is collapsing. Then we are in a great position for the Ashes.

  • Comment number 9.

    So are we saying we've found the new Chris Tavare? Is that a good thing?

  • Comment number 10.

    175 runs in a day? Hardly dull!

  • Comment number 11.

    4 and 7 - fair comment from you two, though I think you may slightly misunderstand my point. Perhaps I could have been clearer. When we come to our next big Test series - the Ashes this winter - we will grab any positive strand going, we won't worry whether we get "entertainment" because all that matters is victory, I would argue. Today against Bangladesh proved pretty tough viewing as a spectacle, in as much as the result was not in doubt from before play started, so one was yearning for entertainment, and it didn't come. Perhaps tomorrow it will.

    3. Yes, hopefully no more juggling of his position for the rest of the summer. Six Tests at number three on the Trott please (groan).

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm amazed that no-one seems to be saying that he has only really batted well at home yet. He didn't look at all comfortable against the Saffers.

    Lets just say that I'd hope we can go into the ashes in the position where we are able to pick 6 from 7 or 8 batsmen (plus Prior/Kieswetter) so that we have a safety net if it all goes per shaped for whoever gets the nod in the first two tests.

  • Comment number 13.

    I accept that the main thrust of your article is positive but I do think it's unfair to major on Trott being an anti-entertainer. Fair enough, he takes a bit of time to get himself ready before deliveries but he scored his runs quite briskly today and to be honest I found his innings pretty entertaining in the main. Having said that, I completely agree that the jury is still out on Trott. After a great start against Australia, he looked uncomfortable over the winter, and runs against Bangladesh certainly don't prove that he's Test class. But hopefully he'll get a double ton tomorrow and go on to fill his boots for the rest of the summer. It's about time someone made that no.3 position their own!

  • Comment number 14.

    From Trott we have had 2 games out of 5 where he has scored at 3. That ratio isn't very convincing. His best game was at Centurion given the opposition. Oliver Brett also thought Bopara was a cert because of three tons against the Windies which is a much better ratio. But Bopara was taken apart by the Australians. When Trott batted at 5 at the Oval he was new to them. Now they will have been studying every video including the ones when he was struggling on tour in South Africa and Bangladesh. The point is Trott is a very good County cricketer and Bangladesh is about that level. To spring from that to a long innings against Australia down under is a leap in faith too far. Bell got 138 in his previous Test innings which was against Bangladesh in torrid conditions of 40 degrees on a low slow pitch and saved the match when the top order failed. If this same Bell is now not sure of his place after today's innings and after a winter of top scoring, then goodness me, the team is in trouble. For the record Bell did not give his wicket away, he was bowled by a good ball nipping back according to everyone and my eyes.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    Surely Trott, with his capacity to build big innings, is more of an 'entertaining' player in the Test arena at least than Pietersen who 'swashbuckles' (the unkind might say 'flails') around attempting to batter bowlers into submission and more often than not gets himself out for less than twenty? Though I'll admit the replays of his dismissals do tend to be entertaining, but for the wrong reasons.

  • Comment number 17.


    "Today against Bangladesh proved pretty tough viewing as a spectacle, in as much as the result was not in doubt from before play started, so one was yearning for entertainment, and it didn't come."

    I don't disagree. The challenge wasn't there. A player like Pietersen is at his best when he is facing an opposition he respects and feels will challenge him. You might mention the West Indies who aren't the force they were. In that department, you have the Gayle factor. Pietersen likes to perform against them because doing well against them means getting one over on Gayle. The rivalry there is personal. Pietersen against Bangladesh... it isn't the same.

    For every great Test series, and there have been some fantastic matches over the last year, a day like today does nothing to promote the best of Test cricket. If Bangladesh crumble with the bat on a pitch with a history of staying true all five days and with weather conditions that aren't swing and seam friendly, then questions really will need to be asked. With India and Sri Lanka playing in Zimbabwe, the call will come at some point for Zimbabwe to be readmitted to the Test arena. Both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as they are right now do not/would not enhance Test cricket. Both sides have talented individuals but the team as a collective don't have enough to them.

    We need a second division of Test cricket, perhaps almost something like a Tri-Test Series. Imagine something like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe coming to Ireland to play Tests against one another. If time is an issue, perhaps the second division Tests could be four days long. Throw in games against representative sides in Ireland and perhaps in England like the MCC etc.

    One quirk with Bangladesh is that in June they disappear off to play in the Asia Cup before returning to the UK. What's the point in getting a young side out here, start getting them used to English wickets, and then taking them out to Sri Lanka for a meaningless ODI series, and then bringing them back here? I don't think that schedule is conducive to their development at all.


    No, he didn't look comfortable against South Africa. Cook didn't look comfortable in Australia. Trescothick didn't first time in Oz. Players learn and adapt. Despite his South African association, Trott still has to develop on the international arena like any batsman.

    Kieswetter for the Ashes? With those keeping hands? Not a chance.

  • Comment number 18.

    trott - is a selfish cricketer only interested in playing for himself and not the team. all his motives are centered around if its the right thing for trott not england. im sre tomorow he will go back to his block block block mode again when we should be piling the runs on.

  • Comment number 19.

    Having been at Lord's today, I thought Trott played pretty well. I think he did enough to answer the short term questions as to the number 3 spot, but I have a few concerns about his innings (if its possible to criticise an innings of 175 not out).

    Firstly I was a bit worried that the pace of his scoring seemed to feed off his partner. He came in confidently and scored quickly to start with. Once Strauss got out he seemed to relax a bit whilst KP was in with him, but slowed down once again once Bell was in, and relax again when Morgan came in.

    The second minor thing is that, certainly before he played himself in, he seemed to struggle bit against spin.

    That being said, a very satisfying day for England. Lets hope they can kick on on day 2, get another 200 or so runs or day 2 and get the Bangladeshis in and then put the pressure on.

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm intrigued by the description of Trott as the anti-entertainer. He scored his runs faster than anyone else in the team today - even KP.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hello Oliver

    Should my post take an hour to moderate?

  • Comment number 22.

    Not taken to ODIs?

    He averages over 50 as an ODI opener (Before being harshly dropped) and has the highest List A average of any English player EVER and the 20th highest for any player anywhere in the world EVER!

    He is a WORLD CLASS ODI player!

  • Comment number 23.

    Sorry my facts are wrong there!

    He averages 139 as an ODI opener (Before being harshly dropped)!

  • Comment number 24.


    "Firstly I was a bit worried that the pace of his scoring seemed to feed off his partner. He came in confidently and scored quickly to start with. Once Strauss got out he seemed to relax a bit whilst KP was in with him, but slowed down once again once Bell was in, and relax again when Morgan came in."

    I don't think he feeds off a partner too much. Most normal batsmen will have periods in a long innings when they don't score quickly or seem to stagnate a little. I'd agree that he's not the best against spin but he can learn to score better against slow bowling. If he is going to be a good number three, being secure against seamers is perhaps a greater priority, especially for those times when an opener is knocked out quickly and the ball is still pretty new.

  • Comment number 25.

    like a few others, i completely disagree with the idea that the innings was not enjoyable to watch or that it was 'anti-entertainment'. trott played some lovely shots and scored rapidly apart from one session where he slowed to a strike rate of just under 50.

    the other thing i find odd are the remarks that trott is not suited to T20 or the one day game, and that he would struggle in those formats. anyone who follows the county game will know trott is amongst the top of the list for runs scored in domestic T20, is the england player with the highest list A average ever, and is already up amongst the leading run scorers again this season. also, if you look at a list of the worlds top 30 run scorers in T20 (all games - international and domestic) trott has the highest average of them all at 39.44 - better than KP, jayasuriya, sehwag, dhoni, cameron white and many other 'greats' of the game. but why let the facts get in the way of some good old cliches and lazy journalism? :)

  • Comment number 26.

    Every team needs a rock in an important position, be it opening the batting or number 3. As in Pietersen and Strauss's dismissals, lack of concentration can be a weakness against any attack, world class bowlers can throw in a slower ball or spinners an arm ball or a flipper. Partnership breakers are used not because of their ability, but because the batsmen feel they have to score runs off them. An awesome display by Trott when all around were found wanting.

  • Comment number 27.

    ___SwAnNsOnG___ wrote:

    "He averages over 50 as an ODI opener (Before being harshly dropped) and has the highest List A average of any English player EVER and the 20th highest for any player anywhere in the world EVER!

    He is a WORLD CLASS ODI player!"

    Can you be world class when you've only played four ODI matches, one of which was against an Associate side?

  • Comment number 28.

    The English always manage to come up with pejoratives or veiled adjectives that do not flatter too much. Trott is 'anti-entertainer'. Grudging pain-relievers ensue; 'come the Ashes, give me anti-entertainer any day' from some of the more discerning.

    If I were to vote I'll go to the constituency of #4 Riggadon and #5 laughingdevil. There's no room for criticism of Trott's innings, despite the opposition being BD. Take out the Trott score and where would the entertainers be? If others abdicate we may have to put up with 'Trott, the boring plodder, the anti-Sehwag'.

  • Comment number 29.

    At the very least, Trott has laid down a pretty good marker for the season to follow. The number three spot is his for the next few Tests and it would be churlish to make too much of the limited opposition - a man can only play what is bowled to him.
    Of course the rather sad tale of Ravi Bopara last year is bound to be in most minds but there is one significant difference: Trott already has a hundred against Australia , albeit one scored at a later batting position.

    Anyway there is only one sure way to see if a man can make runs against Australia on their own pitches and that is to actually send him there to try - Trott may not be on the plane yet but he has gone a big step towards the departure lounge.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm with sevenseaman - no criticism whatsoever is warranted of Trott today. To be fair to Oliver (and I'm sometimes not), this piece, over all, is not that critical. However, I am disturbed that it's the first day of the International summer, a player has scored 175* at the highest strike-rate of the innings, and the journos are grubbing around looking for something negative to say about him.

    I hope Trott continues in this vein all summer, and through the winter. A specialist Test number three is just what we're after - I'm definitely with largehat on that one: "the most natural number three England have had this century and must be in the side".

    It does make competition for batting slots tight though! Especially since I'm very much in the "five bowlers, Bres at seven" camp. It's very harsh on Bell, and, to some degree, even on Morgan, but neither are in my starting Test XI right now.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think Trott is very much like Jacques Kallis mark 2. In test cricket he can grind out some big scores which are of benefit to the team but may not have the run-a-ball strike rate that is needed for the modern ODI games. This isn't meant to be negative. Rather I find it refreshing that someone in the England team has the temperament to bat for a day, and rather stupid all those comments about the manner in which he scores his runs. Keep going for another 4hrs at least today!

  • Comment number 32.

    Anti-entertainer ??? That really is abit harsh, too me that seems a confidence conflict, if Trott isn't 100% confidence then the runs wont flow and he'll defend his wicket more, but like yesterday with a big score already behind him this season so batting confidence high he'll up his offensive shots.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm stunned. OK, not the strongest opposition, but England make 360-4 on the first day of a test match and number 3 makes 175 not out, and half the people on this blog want to get stuck into him? You're all kidding, right?

  • Comment number 34.

    evenseaman wrote:
    'The English always manage to come up with pejoratives or veiled adjectives that do not flatter too much'.

    Ah, sweeping racist generalisations, where would we be without them?

  • Comment number 35.

    Regarding the number three position, I guess you could say that Bell's score of seventeen yesterday gave the lie to the charge that he can only score centuries against weak opposition......

  • Comment number 36.

    Score at over 3 an over, score faster than anyone else (including Pietersen), play percentage shots (not T/20 slogs), play without giving chances, play a judicious mixture of attacking and defensive shots AND DO IT ALL AT No.3 in a 5 day TEST MATCH at Lord's. That beats any "entertaining" cameo that lasts a few minutes!!
    If TROTT understands TEST CRICKET and is only chosen for that form of the game, that's fine by me! The "entertainment" of TEST CRICKET is a big concept. It encompasses patience, stamina, pacing, wearing down the opposition, grinding them, building, consolidating, dominating.....

    I hope Trott moves serenely and patiently to a double century. The attributes listed are JUST what we need to beat the Aussies in OZ.

  • Comment number 37.

    Oh how we need an 'anti entertainer', someone who will get under the Aussies' skin, someone to grind and bore them into losing. While Ian Botham was biffing his way into the history books in 81, Chris Tavare was performing this function, and didn't Sir Geoffrey do a bit of this too. Even further back there was Ken Barrington (have a look at his average) buckling down at number four. While flash harrys like Ted Dexter were scoring scintillating seventies there was Ken grinding out big, big scores at the other end. Carry on anti entertaining say I.

  • Comment number 38.

    I thought it was the perfect first day test innings from trott.

    The bangladeshi attack is clearly weak but you have to firstly respect the opposition (bell, pieterson) and build a platform from which you can then attack and play entertaining shots - ie today should be the day england can really cash in and play some agressive cricket.

    Good to see morgan enjoy a good start to his test career as well. Set on 40odd, with england in a strong position, wouldn't like to be bowling to him today!

  • Comment number 39.

    Trott is still in the first year of his international career, and has a real chance at a double century here. We constantly complain that we don't have an anchor in the team who can bat through, and he looks like the one player who looks like he has the temperament and class to be that man.

    For those thinking it's boring and dull, this is test cricket, it can be a grind at times.

    As mentioned previously, Rahul Dravid is copnsidered one of the great test batsman, yet it would've taken him about 500 deliveries and 2 and a half days to score 175!

    We should be greatful we have a man standing up to the plate at number 3 and showing real resilience, class and punch, and is always looking to score. Long may Trott and his big runs continue at number 3.

  • Comment number 40.

    How can Trotts innings be described as anything but excellent. His solid batting performance instils confidence in the rest of the team.

    It doesn't matter if he "fed off his partner"?

    It doesn't matter if he was " anti - entertainment"? (which I disagree with)

    He is on 175 not out after day one! Strike rate of 65 in test match!

    Morgan/Prior now have the confidence to attack as they have a "rock" at the other end.

    I'm not even an England supporter but some of the posts on here iro Trott are just absurd!

    Great innings, simple as that!

  • Comment number 41.

    You can only take runs off the attack put in front of you and Trott has certainly done that with some aplomb.

    That said, I'm still not sure if he is really a test match number three and fear he could get exposed against the Aussies especially on their pitches.

    As such, our latest post asks whether Trott's runfest further complicates England's number three woes?

  • Comment number 42.

    37. Thanks pal, I think you've got the drift...

  • Comment number 43.

    Congratulations to Trott and England. I am not into statistics but it may be one of the faster double hundreds if you do not bring Sehawag in; and only in his 8th Test!

  • Comment number 44.

    For me the "entertainment" factor watching test innings IS EXACTLY the fact they require serious concentration, crafting an innings by selecting only poor balls to punish. At test level "anti-entertainment" is watching people like Pietersen gift their wicket away by thinking they can club every ball wherever they want to hit it. Its ugly and stupid. I think most test cricket lovers would agree, otherwise they would save time and watch limited-over games exclusively.

  • Comment number 45.

    Hello Oliver

    I am astounded that my post has been removed. It would help if the moderators could allude the the specific house rule which has been broken, so that an improved version could be offered.

    Unbelievable really!


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