Jonathan Trott : A chip off the old block
When this stocky guy made his debut for England, all of us must have thought that here comes another batsman to join the likes of John Crawley, Robert Key and other such losers. But, once he came to the middle and started accumulating some runs in his very first Test inning, I got reminded of Steve Waugh at once.
The shuffle, the ease square off the wicket and the physical dimensions were all the same. The manner in which he stood up to the Aussies in his very first Test was also signature Steve Waugh style. Just one difference and that became evident in the 2nd inning when he removed his helmet to celebrate a debut 100.
He was bald with just some patchy hair on the sides :) but no question of patchy form on the cricketing turf from this man. Yes, Jonathan Trott had arrived and to this day, he has maintained his form, consistency and appetite for runs. Humongous appetite indeed and that explains his success in all forms of the game though he is not exactly a natural in the limited overs games. But he has adapted brilliantly and he is among the first names to be in the team whenever the squad is announced now, be it any format.
A look at his stats briefly. He is nearing 2000 Test runs after just 21 Tests and his average of 62 odd is among the very best ever. Among the current crop, he is the guy with the best Test average. 6 hundreds and 6 fifties round off his impressive stats. And his ODI record is no less impressive. He averages almost 52 after 28 games with 3 hundreds and 11 fifties.
Another interesting facet with Trott is his fondness for the big 100. 5 of his 6 hundreds have been big, including a 226 against Bangladesh. The Ashes series Down Under was huge for Trott as he along with Cook literally frustrated the Aussie bowlers to death by playing some good old fashioned Test cricket. He had 2 unbeaten centuries, 135 and 168, at Gabba and MCG respectively. His most recent exploit came against the Lankans at Wales as he scored a 203. He also had the distinction of scoring a hundred in the deciding Tests of both the successful Ashes campaigns that he has been a part of, in 2009 and 2011.
He is also good at another basic aspect of Test cricket – building partnerships. Be it with the top man Alastair Cook or with Stuart Broad for the 8th wicket, Trott stays rock solid and rooted to the crease and to the cause.
He is in many ways similar to Alastair Cook and sort of a reflection, though Trott is definitely a late bloomer. He made his debut at the age of 28 but he is making up for lost time by accumulating runs at an awesome rate. He is another inspirational figure like Michael Hussey, for the likes of Subramniam Badrinath who is not able to cement his place in the team despite knocking on the doors of 30 already.
And in ODI cricket also, Trott is the joint quickest to 1000 runs along with the likes of Vivian Richards and Kevin Pietersen. He was among the few shining lights for England in their world cup disaster. He had 5 fifties thereby proving his consistency in no uncertain terms. He was also the lone consolation with 2 hundreds for England during their disastrous 1-6 defeat against the Aussies following their Ashes glory down under in early 2011.
In the coming years, as England look to take over the world rankings, Trott should ideally play a role akin to what Dravid and Kallis do to their respective teams. That is, see out the tough times, build partnerships, be a solid middle order rock and also anchor the team in times of trouble from his spot at No.3.
Always the most reliable player in the team occupies the No.3 slot. That Trott has been given this slot just 2 yrs into his career tells a lot about his progress. The coming series against India should be another prosperous time for Trott as he looks to extend his honeymoon period. At home and with another star who is in a purple patch just like him, Cook, Trott will be at the forefront of some huge first innings scores and if needed, some second innings rearguard action too.