Jonathan Trott facing baptism of fire on England comeback

Jonathan Trott`s technique, as well as his mental state, will come under scrutiny next month when his rehabilitation as an international batsman continues in the West Indies.

Reuters| Updated: Mar 18, 2015, 21:16 PM IST
Jonathan Trott facing baptism of fire on England comeback

London: Jonathan Trott`s technique, as well as his mental state, will come under scrutiny next month when his rehabilitation as an international batsman continues in the West Indies.

The South Africa-born 33-year-old, selected again for England after an 18-month absence sparked by stress-related problems, will not have to withstand the kind of `chin music` that once struck fear into the world`s top batsmen.

But while the Caribbean islanders no longer possess the venomous bowling attacks once led by the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Michael Holding, they still have enough firepower to punish any Trott weakness.

His perceived vulnerabilty against fast, short-pitched bowling means Kemar Roach, for one, is likely to be banging the ball in short when the first test starts in Antigua on April 13.

How he fares will be key to his hopes of facing Australia tormentor Mitchell Johnson again in the home Ashes series later this year after being targeted in the first match of the 2013-14 contest, a battering that led to an emotional breakdown and an early plane home.

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan says Trott`s recall is a risk worth taking.

"It shows you where English cricket is at," said Vaughan who thinks Trott should open the batting with captain Alastair Cook. "They are willing to take a risk.

"You look at the next nine months of international cricket and England will come up against quality seamers, pace and that was the issue with Jonathan last time he was in the team," he told the BBC.

"He did struggle against the short ball, the pace options of the likes of Johnson and (Ryan) Harris and teams around the world will continue to target him with short stuff to the body.

"But if you ask me would I take the gamble? ... I would. England are a better team with Trott playing well."

The batsman`s statistics are impressive. In 49 tests, most spent at number three, he has scored 3,763 runs at an average of 46.

However, after such a long time away from the spotlight he must prove himself all over again.

"He did well on the Lions tour to South Africa, scored a big double hundred there," former paceman Bob Willis said of Trott`s gentle re-introduction to the international fold with England`s development team.

"But it`s one thing playing South Africa A on flat pitches to playing against Mitchell Johnson when the Ashes start again in Cardiff in July."