Having gone 1-0 down in the series, after a humiliating defeat to Australia at the
Gabba, England have been dealt a huge blow after losing Jonathan Trott, one of their key batsmen.
Trott has been battling with a long-term stress-related illness which has unfortunately led to him withdrawing from the tour after just one month and one Test match. Touring can be notoriously difficult and unless you are 100% mentally and physically fit it can take it's toll on a cricketer. Team England have a lot of strategies in place to ease the boredom experienced during periods of downtime but ultimately the players still have time on their own which can
become a burden if not handled well.
There is no doubt that Trott will be a huge loss to England. He has often been very dependable to bat for long periods of time, has become a stubborn resistance to bowling attacks all over the world and in the process has scored a bucket load of runs. His batting style has allowed the more flamboyant England batsman to go about their game in their own way and flourish as a consequence. Trott has been the perfect number three for England during a sustained period of success and will be hard to replace.
His statistics speak for themselves. In nearly 50 Test matches Trott has amassed over
3700 runs with 9 centuries and 18 fifties, at an average of just over 47. He was awarded the ECB, Wisden and ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2011 and has been invloved in three victorious Ashes campaigns already in a relatively short career. However, it is not just his stats that are impressive. He has a calming influence over the whole team and that is priceless particularly in high-pressure Test matches. England will certainly miss this in what is a very long and demanding tour Down Under.
He was certainly not himself in the Gabba defeat, his game plan to the short
pitched ball was nothing short of mystifying and the Aussies, particularly
Mitchell Johnson, took full advantage of it. Despite his poor start Trott was
still going to be a key player during this series and the fact that the
Australians have targeted him shows that they also realise this. It is now time
for others to stand up and be counted against a barrage of short pitched, fast-bowling
that the Aussies seem intent on using during the series. The notoriously fast
and bouncy pitch in Perth will be particularly challenging during the third
England will not call up an immediate replacement for the Warwickshire batsman but they will need to reshuffle what has been a fairly settled batting order previously. England were happy to bring Carberry into the starting line-up because they knew they could surround him with experience but this is now not the case and they need to look at the number three spot losely.
The most notable option is to promote Ian Bell to number three, a position he has batted before, and include one of either Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes or Gary Balance down the order. Bell has been so successful batting at number five it would be a shame to dislodge
him but England may have no alternative unless they prefer to move Joe Root up the order again. Personally I think the experience of Ian Bell will suit England, particularly in combating the Australian barrage early in an innings and it would be unfair on Root to ask him to try and adapt to another spot in the batting order.
There is no doubt that the Australians now have the upper hand during this series and a game plan that looks to be working. They have a momentum which could be difficult to stop and Trott's absence will only make life more tough for England. Now is the time to stand up and be counted when it matters and bring the Ashes back home which will hopefully go some way in boosting Trott as he begins his off-field battles.
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