Trott remains constant through storm
Posted in ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
As England threatened to be be pulled under by the current in their so far tempestuous World Cup campaign, one man has acted as the keel, counteracting their every wobble.
Jonathan Trott, a man known equally for his unflappable composure as he is for his stringent preparation, has remained a constant in a sub-continental sea of uncertainty, as England struggled against the tide to their quarter-final showdown against Sri Lanka tomorrow.
The number three has made a mockery of suggestions before the tournament that his place in the side is unwarranted; his ODI average of a little over 54 marks him out as England’s premier batsman.
Above Kevin Pietersen, whose tournament ending hernia smothered the embers of a fire threatening to reignite, and above Andrew Strauss, despite his Herculean century against India.
The quiet Warwickshire batsman rises above them all - and now he has to step up once more.
If England’s fatigue is matched only by their dogged resistance then change is essential to keep alive a World Cup campaign on life support.
The search to find a partner for Strauss at the top of the order after Pietersen’s untimely departure continues after Matt Prior’s well-publicised promotion shows few sign of life. His average of 11.20 in Asia suggests a move back down the order to a position where he can free his arms without added responsibility may suit both parties.
Graham Gooch, a man who bats every ball from the comfort of the stands for the team he now helps coach, summed up England’s dilemma succinctly, as if picturing an image of the obdurate Trott at the crease.
“Having opened the batting myself, I think it’s a special place to play and I think every batsman should aspire to open the batting in one-day cricket,” he said.
“Our batting fired in the early matches, then we’ve been short of a few runs on lower-scoring pitches in exciting games.
“We just need to get that quantity of runs to be competitive. Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss will look at the batting order, once we’ve seen the conditions, and decide what’s our best way forward.”
Trott can bat 50 overs at a canter. His accumulation been impressive so far. Not only is he in the race to be crowned top run scorer at the tournament, he has scored them at a healthy rate. His composure and consistency has been at odds with other England batsmen; he is a man to build an innings around right from the very start.
England are understandably reluctant to move Trott from the number three role in which he has excelled. The heir to his throne, Ian Bell, has all the shots at his disposal to deputise for Trott and is an excellent player of spin - a necessary quality on slow, dry sub-continental tracks.
Bell and Ravi Bopara have been pushed forward as a replacement for Prior at the top of the order but, while both have undoubted ability, in an England team struggling for consistency the man who can bat long is king.
England are three games away from history, and life would be made much simpler with Trott leading the charge.