Trott braced for baptism of fire
Jonathan Trott is prepared for the verbal barrage of an Ashes battle after being chosen to make his Test debut in the series finale at the Brit Oval.
Warwickshire batsman Trott, 28, will bat at number four for England in the npower series decider, one place below county colleague Ian Bell after the selectors following the selectors’ announcement this morning.
Essex’s Ravi Bopara was the only casualty from the 14-man squad chosen for the fourth Test, replaced by left-arm spinner Monty Panesar for a match England must win to regain the Ashes.
Australia have a habit of targeting new men in the team and have already promised Trott a hostile reception.
But Trott countered: "It's not as if they can bowl from any closer. They might like to target the opposition but mental toughness is part of the game and I have met a few challenges throughout my career and come through.
"It's not as though county cricket is a library when you go out to bat. I have done the hard yards to get here: two years of scoring lots of runs and a good tour with the A side last winter.
"There is a lot of pressure that goes with the competition to get into the Test team because there are a lot of high-quality batsmen around and you have to be up there constantly pushing your name forward.
“For me this is now the first step. Making the team and staying in the team are two different things and what I have done so far is probably the easier of the two.”
Trott, whose two previous international appearances were also at the Oval - he played in the Twenty20 double header against West Indies in 2007 - has piled up 1,046 first-class runs at an average of 80 this summer.
He qualified for England three years ago, and his emergence inevitably drew comparisons with Kevin Pietersen, who was also born in South Africa.
Trott recalls playing against Pietersen in a schools match. But other than their upbringing, he is wary of any kind of other comparisons.
"He's his own man," Trott said. "I will just be me and play my own way. It would be a mistake to attempt to imitate anybody - I am there to be effective and do well for England.
"I have tried my whole cricket life to get here and played my own game to get to this position.
"To get into the England side you have to be consistent. You have to be bashing the door down.
"Of course my South African roots will be a talking point but this is my seventh season in county cricket.
"There have been plenty of South African-raised players to play for England in the past. Tony Greig was captain of England, and then there was Allan Lamb when I was growing up.
"When I got the chance to play county cricket in 2003 it was the route I wanted to take.
"I thought county cricket was the place to learn and the place which would give me the best chance of going on to play at a higher level. So I fully committed to that."
He is also wiser for being picked - and dropped - at one-day international level.
"I didn't have the best of times in 2007," he recalled. “I got left out under Peter Moores and then I just chased getting back into the team too much.
"I was conscious of trying to get more runs than everybody else, quicker than anybody else."
It is perhaps his change in character - observers believe he is less uptight now - that his helped get him back into the England equation.
National selector Geoff Miller said: "He is a quality player who has a very strong mental attitude.
"You never know until you are thrown into the international arena how you are going to react to it.
"But we have every confidence he will surmount that and be able to do the job he is required to do."