Trott: I wasn't depressed, just physically and mentally shot

Jonathan Trott. Photo / Getty Images
Jonathan Trott. Photo / Getty Images

Jonathan Trott has insisted that his sudden decision to quit this winter's Ashes tour was due to physical and mental burnout, rather than depression.

He admits, however, that the stress of the trip led to repeat headaches, and to him hiding away from his team-mates at breakfast while being unsure about how he would feel when travelling to the ground. After getting home, he feared that people might view him as a "nutcase".

In a Sky Sports UK documentary to be broadcast today in Great Britain, the England batsman differentiates his case from that of Marcus Trescothick, and he emphasises that he wants to resume his international career as soon as possible this summer.

Giving what is his first account of the circumstances that saw him fly home after November's first Test in Brisbane, he concedes that he was consumed by guilt watching his colleagues struggle when back in England.

Nonetheless, he is convinced that he did the right thing by leaving Australia, after a recurrence of feelings he has experienced before.

"I knew I wasn't helping anyone by being there, I would have been a passenger basically,' he tells interviewer Ian Ward. 'I was trying everything to get myself in the right frame of mind to contribute, I was working hard in the nets, but emotionally it was hard to keep myself in check.

"Just coming down to breakfast I'd sit on my own, away from the guys with my cap over my head, because I didn't know how I was going to react to having to go to the cricket ground again."

He states that the brief gap between unprecedented back-to-back Ashes series contributed to the condition building up. Although he does not blame anybody, there is the implicit suggestion that the players were pushed too hard, given the highly unusual schedule.

"You end up going back to your room and it's difficult. You feel sort of hopeless, it's the opposite end of the spectrum to how it felt three years ago or at the beginning of the English summer. It built up through the end of the Ashes in England, through the ODI series. The three weeks in between wasn't time off because I was working hard in the nets.

"It was pretty relentless, getting to Australia a month before the first Test, and I think we had two days off before the first Test.

"I tried my hardest and ended up finding out myself that I had nothing left to give. It was very difficult for me to operate close to 100 per cent or even 50 per cent of what I was capable of. I didn't have the emotional energy or the mental energy to get out there. Throughout (last) summer I was getting to 40 and 50 and I just couldn't watch the ball as hard as I normally do.

"Even in the Ashes series in England there were times, especially towards the end of the series, when I just had a headache for three or four days, just constantly in a bad place really. I remember driving from Old Trafford to Durham for the fourth Test, it's normally quite a nice drive and I just wasn't feeling right. I was just constantly thinking about cricket."

Matters did not improve in Australia, and he recognised that there was a problem.

"Going to the cricket ground was quite hard to do, keeping emotionally intact and in the right frame of mind. Starting at the end of Hobart and Sydney (Ashes warm-up matches) it was getting to that point, and then I realised at Brisbane because of the scrutiny of five Test matches I wasn't going to be in the right space."

He is sure that his condition was different to that of Trescothick, who similarly departed an Ashes Tour seven years previously.

"I spoke to Marcus and he wanted to know how I was. There are a lot of similarities people can probably draw from it, I understand people thinking it but it's a completely different situation.. We were both very upset and confused but also at the same time very different.

"In Brisbane I spoke to the Doc and on one of the last nights he said, "You know, if I was a GP I'd sign you off for three weeks from work and say come back and see me in three weeks' time", but we're on an Ashes tour and you can't do that, so I didn't have anywhere to go really.

"I remember day two or three (of Brisbane), it was a bit of a blur. I was getting headaches and I wasn't eating properly towards the end, and that's when the sleep started getting disruptive and emotionally that was when I was worst and it just boiled over really. I had nothing left in the tank or battery - mentally and physically pretty drained."

He is insistent that David Warner's derogatory comments in Brisbane were not a factor, and nor was the full frontal assault of Mitchell Johnson. Of Warner's comments he responds: 'No, I was already out so it didn't make a difference. Those sort of things don't really bother me,' although he then adds: "I didn't have the mental energy to fight it."

On Johnson, he concedes that observers will put two and two together and conclude that the paceman helped send him home: "I'm sure people will think that, and people have said it, but to me it didn't matter who was bowling and that's the hardest part to accept. It doesn't matter if it was 100mph, 90mph or 60 mph, it all felt pretty much the same."

There was clearly a feeling of release immediately he left Australia, although after that it became difficult to watch from afar, with concerns about how the public would perceive him.

"Leaving Brisbane, I flew to Hong Kong. I've never slept on a plane, but as it took off I slept for eight hours straight. It was really weird, I woke up in Hong Kong and the news was about to break in Australia so it was really strange. And then the guys walked out at Adelaide and things didn't go well and a feeling of guilt started kicking in. That was the hardest thing, for me to be in contact with the guys and them thinking he's at home with the central heating on and watching it on TV.

"I was a little bit worried about going out in public because people look at you and you don't know what they are thinking. "There goes that nutcase" or whatever, and you're not quite sure what perceptions are. People come up to you and say, "It's good to see you out and about" and I'm like, "I'm not crazy I was just burnt out"."

While pledging that he wants to come back, and wants to tour again, he admits that this was not the first time he has experienced such a state of mind.

"I've never really spoken about it but on my first tour I went to South Africa and I had probably a little bit similar feeling towards the end - it was a 10-week tour and I'd never been away and I ended up having not a disaster...but at the Wanderers I wasn't feeling great.

"I learnt from that mistake for the next couple of years but probably got myself in a similar spiral and situation in the last couple of months before I had a break."

Trott reaffirms that he is targeting Warwickshire's match against Oxford University at the start of next month as his comeback, and that he wants to get straight back into the England set up when the international treadmill cranks up again.

"I know there's a Scotland game at the beginning of May. I think that would be a good game to get back into the mix, and then at the end of the month there's Sri Lanka. I don't want to be one of those cricketers that picks and chooses, I want to be available from the word go.

"I remember almost to the day six weeks after I got back thinking that if I had to go out and bat now at Brisbane six weeks later I'd feel a lot more confident than I did when I actually played.

"I'll probably be under a cloud for a bit, "He left an Ashes tour, is he going to be OK?" I think as long as I'm feeling OK with myself and where my game's at I think playing international cricket is fine, there's obviously scrutiny but it's how I feel about my own game and how I feel going forward."

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