Trott happy to fight for his place
Jonathan Trott refuses to fret over the fierce competition for places in England’s one-day batting order.
Among those who have played for England, Trott has the highest ODI batting average by a clear 10 runs per innings, and his is superior by a little more than that to anyone in the current team.
He is fourth on the list of all-time world averages, which is dominated by players of the modern era, and - as the glue between England’s succession of boundary hitters - has a more than serviceable strike-rate of 78.35.
Yet the anomaly is that, whenever England need to make a choice - as they do for Friday’s first ODI against India at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium - Trott’s name still seems to come most readily to some minds as the potential fall guy.
However, the man himself welcomes the batting rivalries which have become still more acute thanks to Jonny Bairstow’s emergence.
“It’s not a case of looking over your shoulder,” the 30-year-old International Cricket Council player of the year said.
“You can’t go very far forward if you’re looking over your shoulder the whole time. I don’t think that’s a very good mentality to have, worrying about your own place.”
Trott is confident too that his team-mates share that one-for-all attitude which has been such a part of England’s success under team director Andy Flower.
“Whichever XI is selected have to go out there with the full backing of each other and the guys off the field,” he added. “It is not a case of wondering what the selection is going to be.
“You certainly go out there wanting to play for each other. It’s your job to do that, do your best for England.”
Bairstow has made a strong case to face India after he followed up last month’s match-winning debut innings against the same opponents with an astounding 104 not out from just 53 balls against an outclassed Hyderabad Cricket Association XI yesterday.
If Bairstow keeps his place, England do not need to decide who misses out for another day and Trott is convinced that team harmony will be unaffected.
“I think it’s the healthy way to go,” said Trott, who contributed 74 off 68 balls to England's second successive warm-up victory. “You don’t want to have a thing where people are worried and trying to look after their own places.
“You’ve got to go out there and play the attacking brand of cricket that is expected of you when you pull on the England shirt and helmet.”
He cites the changing of the guard between Paul Collingwood and Eoin Morgan in Test cricket last year as an example of natural evolution for the common good.
“It’s a little bit similar to Eoin Morgan waiting in the wings of the Test side and Paul Collingwood having to retire when he did,” Trott added. “Eoin Morgan came straight in and we’ve seen how he’s done. So it is healthy.
“For an older guy of the team it’s a good thing to see that strength in depth. It spurs you on to try to push yourself and become even better.
“I feel like I’ve been pretty successful over the last couple of years, but by no means like I’ve done enough to deserve to secure my spot.”
As for his demeanour once at the crease, Trott’s ethos is all about continued self-improvement.
“You’ve got to go about it the best way you think you can contribute to the team,” he said. “That’s all I try to do - the only thing I really think about when I go out in the middle.
“Sometimes you get it wrong - play the wrong shot - but it’s always while you’re trying to do your best for your team-mates.
“I think everyone’s got that mentality and that’s why we’ve been pretty successful over the last few years.”
Although Bairstow’s rapid hundred stole the headlines, Trott was one of three England half-centurions in an imposing total of 367 for four from 50 overs. Young bowlers Scott Borthwick and Stuart Meaker then took 5-31 and 3-30 respectively to aid a 253-run victory.
That performance in England’s final warm-up match before they face India at the same venue on Friday was a significant step forward from a scrappy opening win against the same side last Saturday.
Trott is encouraged by the improvement, and confident England are ready for another major raising of the stakes when they begin their bid to follow up last month’s NatWest Series home success against India in the five-game rematch away.
“We don’t really see them as warm-up games,” he revealed. “We try to play them as if they were ODIs so that, come the real thing, we’re not surprised by different eventualities.
“It was very pleasing to be able to post that big score, then bowl them out for such a small total. But we know it will be a little bit different come the weekend.”
England’s second successive victory was the culmination of a near seamless preparation period.
“It’s been very good,” Trott added. “We’ve worked really hard in the nets, and the two games. They were very different scoring games, and it’s good to be able to win both.
“Whatever eventuality comes up in our first ODI, I’m pretty confident we can defend both sorts of targets.”