Heading home: Jonathan Trott.
England batsman Jonathan Trott has left the Ashes tour and is taking an indefinite break from cricket due to a long-term stress-related illness.
In a sensational development on Monday night, England announced that the South African-born Trott had departed the tour after only one match of the series.
But they insisted he had not pulled out of the campaign due to technical problems, his exposure at the Gabba by Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson or criticism of his performance by David Warner.
Jonathan Trott. Photo: AFP
“I don’t feel it is right that I’m playing knowing that I’m not 100 per cent and I cannot currently operate at the level I have done in the past,” the 32-year-old said in a statement.
“My priority now is to take a break from cricket so that I can focus on my recovery. I want to wish my teammates all the very best for the remainder of the tour.”
Warner labelled Trott’s exit to Johnson in the second innings in Brisbane as “pretty poor” and “pretty weak”, saying England had “scared eyes” against the left-armer.
It led England captain Alastair Cook to describe Warner’s remarks as “pretty disrespectful to any professional cricketer really”.
Warner conceded on Monday he may have gone “too far” in sledging Trott.
It is understood Australian players had no idea about Trott’s illness, and England management indicated on Monday that the opener’s criticism of the visitors’ No.3 had no impact on his decision to leave.
“Jonathan Trott is an incredibly talented cricketer who has proven himself time and again for England. The cricket side of things is unimportant now. All that matters is that Jonathan is given the time, support and space he needs to recover,” England’s managing director Hugh Morris said.
“We fully support his decision to leave the tour and the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] will provide all the assistance we can to help Jonathan and his family through this period.”
Trott’s sudden exit has echoes of Marcus Trescothick leaving England’s doomed 2006-07 Ashes tour with a stress-related illness.
Trescothick had previously left a tour of India under a cloak of secrecy before the nature of his illness was revealed, and he went from Australia just a fortnight into the tour, forcing England to find a new opening partner for Andrew Strauss – Cook. It turned into a horror tour for England, which lost the series five-nil.
Later, Trescothick revealed he broke down in the dressing room on the morning of a tour match.
“All the same feelings of irrational fear, despair and panic that had taken over my whole being that day in Baroda came back in wave after bloody great wave,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It took about 20 minutes for me to calm down enough and to stop crying long enough to even speak.”
Trescothick’s illness cut short his international career but he kept playing county cricket for Somerset. Trescothick tweeted on Monday night: “Sad news, hope trotty is ok.”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said the Ashes should be the last thing on Trott’s mind at the moment. “He needs time with his family and the medical people.”