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Mind games futile against Trott

Investec Test Series

Umar Gul & Michael Clarke

Pakistan's bowlers go to Trent Bridge buoyant after running through Australia, but if any needle was to emerge, Jonathan Trott has declared that he would "thrive on it" at the crease

Jonathan Trott can assure Pakistan of one thing - he will simply relish the challenge all the more if they try to intimidate him this summer.

England's number three memorably announced his Test pedigree with an Ashes-clinching hundred from two places lower in the order on his debut at the Brit Insurance Oval last summer.

He has since added a double-hundred against Bangladesh at Lord's, and confirmed his good form with scores of 94 and 110 against those same opponents when he returned to the one-day international team this month.

The Warwickshire batsman's demeanour at the crease is described almost universally as 'intense'.

But gritty and determined are other adjectives which may be equally appropriate, and it was no surprise to anyone when he warned that he will not be fazed if Pakistan crank up the combat during the four-match npower Test series set to start at Trent Bridge tomorrow.

"I don't mind a bit of needle," he said.

"Some players thrive on it; for some players, it's something that can get them going or maybe make them a bit more nervous. I don't mind it at all.

"You learn to adjust to it and use it as a positive."

There is no indication yet, other than by association with some of their predecessors, that Salman Butt's tourists are likely to be especially uncompromising in word or deed.

Either way, though, Trott will be losing no sleep.

"I'm not saying I enjoy people abusing me or bowling beamers at me.

"It's probably just in my nature to accept it and make myself more determined."

Trott is entering an easily defined second stage of his international career, approaching his 10th Test since that stirring debut 11 months ago.

Kevin Pietersen, Shamsur Rahman & Jonathan Trott

Trott continues to mark his crease, despite England already having hit the winning runs against Bangladesh at Lord's

He is thankful too that he has already been able to add a second major innings indicative of his intent and capabilities at the highest level.

"After my first Test, every time I walked out to the crease people were expecting me to bat all day and get another hundred," he remembers.

"When I didn't get runs after that, people were saying 'he's a flash in the pan'.

"To go and get a double-hundred reconfirms what people first thought and also to yourself.

"But you don't rest on it. You hope you can score hundreds and double-hundreds in the future, wherever I play."

Opinion has been vociferously divided on Trott's relentless marking and remarking of his guard before and after each ball.

He insists, though, it is merely an aid he needs to be sure of his and his off-stump's whereabouts.

"It's become a bit of a habit. I'm sure everyone here has got habits," he said.

"I don't do it to get on anyone's nerves or be different. I just do it to get ready."

Whether the repetitive behaviour is a telltale sign of deeper character traits has become an obsession not with Trott but many paid observers.

Pushed for the answer, it is interesting that the man himself can shrug without apparent concern - and point out too that the stakes are high.

"I'm intense when I need to be intense. It's my job and it's important.

"If I walked around flashing around, I don't think I'd last very long.

"It's part of my career - and it's very important to me that I do very well and the team does very well."

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