Silly or se­ri­ous – the two faces of Jonathan Trott

Eng­land bats­man ready for the Ashes

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

JONATHAN TROTT smiles, more ami­ably than his rep­u­ta­tion would ever sug­gest, while pon­der­ing his un­ex­pected star­ring role as the stand-up co­me­dian fig­ure in the Eng­land team’s com­edy video pro­duced to wish the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions well in Aus­tralia.

“I just want to say all the best to all the South Africans in the Lions team,” de­liv­ered Trott in his best dead­pan man­ner.

Then, glanc­ing to his right, the punch­line: “You mean they’re not rid­dled with them as well?”

It was a rare ex­am­ple, pub­licly at least, of the hu­mour of a man who is re­garded by the out­side world as one of the more se­ri­ous, de­fen­sive and even grumpy mem­bers of the Eng­land team.

“It took a few takes but I got there in the end,” said Trott. “It’s funny how a lit­tle thing like that can have a huge ef­fect.”

It is a side of him that it would be nice to see more of.

“Peo­ple say to me that I never smile but if you asked the team they would prob­a­bly say I’m the one who laughs and jokes the most,” in­sisted Trott.

“I don’t care if I look se­ri­ous when I’m play­ing be­cause that’s my job, that’s what I do.

“It is a se­ri­ous busi­ness! Peo­ple say ‘give me a wave’ on the bound­ary, or ‘ don’t be grumpy,’ but I’m con­cen­trat­ing,”he said

“It’s the same in press con­fer­ences. I don’t want to come across as happy- go- lucky be­cause it is quite im­por­tant to say the right thing.

“Some­times it’s the right time to have a joke and some­times it isn’t.”

He is cer­tainly more se­ri­ous than funny man when we meet at The Oval, where it all started for him in Test cricket with a stun­ning hun­dred on de­but in the Ashes de­cider four years ago.

Trott has rarely looked back since, but never quite gets the ac­claim or ad­mi­ra­tion he deserves for be­com­ing a lead­ing fig­ure, al­beit a me­thod­i­cal one, in the Eng­land team.

Trott, with a Test aver­age of 50 and a one-day aver­age of al­most 53, re­mains a cu­ri­ously un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated fig­ure.

“I think Andy Flower and Ash­ley Giles ap­pre­ci­ate me,” he says, “that’s the most im­por­tant thing.

“Any­thing else is ir­rel­e­vant to me. Sure it’s nice to get ac­co­lades and ac­claim for what you’ve done but, crikey, if I’d got a few more runs in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy fi­nal we might have won it.

“That’s the sort of thing I think about. Not what peo­ple are say­ing about me.” Per­haps it’s the South African thing that does it. He is still more as­so­ci­ated with Cape Town than Birm­ing­ham.

As he was quick to joke him­self in that video, it is of­ten per­ceived the Eng­land cricket team are “rid­dled” with South Africans. “When you do well you’re an Eng­land bats­man and when you do badly you’re a South African-born Eng­land bats­man,” says Trott.

“No-one ever for­gets it and peo­ple still say to me, ‘When will you go back to South Africa?’

“I have no plans to do that. My wife is English, we have a fam­ily and my par­ents live in Leather­head. I don’t have any in­ten­tion of go­ing back.

“I’m not ashamed of where I come from and I’m proud of the way I came to play for Eng­land. I’m also proud of where I’m go­ing and what I want to achieve.

“That’s more im­por­tant than whether I speak with a Birm­ing­ham ac­cent. I want to win for Eng­land just as much as ev­ery­one else in the team.

“South Africa re­spected my de­ci­sion to leave and the way I went about it. They un­der­stand and I’m very grate­ful for my up­bring­ing. It just didn’t work out for me to stay there. It al­ways felt right com­ing to Eng­land. I played for the South African Un­der 15s and 19s but I al­ways trav­elled on a Bri­tish pass­port.

“I al­ways knew there was a Bri­tish part of me and there was a chance I would come over.

“Bob Woolmer wanted me to play for War­wick­shire and qual­ify for Eng­land and I was keen to do it.

‘I don’t care if I look se­ri­ous when I’m play­ing be­cause that’s my job, that’s what I do… it is a se­ri­ous busi­ness’

“Maybe I was a lit­tle com­fort­able in my sur­round­ings in Cape Town and I needed to make a bold de­ci­sion. I needed di­rec­tion, to live on hard work as well as tal­ent.

“I had to try to fit in and be a good ex­am­ple. It was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion but def­i­nitely the right one.”

It has been quite a jour­ney. His ap­pren­tice­ship at Edg­bas­ton was fol­lowed by his in­spired se­lec­tion for that last home de­cider.

“I never knew how to go about Test cricket on my de­but,” he ad­mits now. “I never knew what it would be like.

“I walked out in front of 25,000 peo­ple and I’d never done that be­fore. I got run out in the first in­nings and I came back and sat in the dress­in­groom still with my hel­met on.

“Andy Flower popped his head round the cor­ner and said, ‘Are you all right?’ And I just replied, ‘That’s the most fun I’ve ever had’.

“And it was. It was the most fun I’d had on a cricket field. You don’t know how you’ll han­dle the pres­sure but it’s still the big­gest thrill when I walk out to bat for Eng­land.”

He will ex­pe­ri­ence that feel­ing again at Trent Bridge as he ap­proaches his first full home Ashes se­ries. – Daily Mail

Getty Im­ages

GET­TING DOWN TO BUSI­NESS: Jonathan Trott bat­ting for Eng­land in a Ashes warm-up match against Es­sex this week. Inset: A re­laxed Trott, a side the pub­lic sel­dom sees.

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