Andy Flower faced the press today and discussed the fact that England batsman Jonathan Trott had already flown home from the Ashes Tour and showed great leadership.
Trott has left the Ashes tour of Australia because of a long-standing stress-related condition.He scored just 19 runs – his test average is 46 – in two innings during England’s first Test defeat and was visibly uncomfortable against the bowling of Mitchell Johnson.
“He needs time away from this environment and time with his family.” Flower said. He was not surprisingly asked whether David Warner’s ill advised comments had been the cause for Trott to make this decision. Warner had described as Trott as “poor and weak” a comment that stunned many as it is rare for a fellow professional to publicly diss another.
“I would also say players commenting to fellow professionals in the media is disrespectful and I think on this occasion he [Warner] has got that horribly wrong.” Flower said “I think we set different standards and one of the reasons we don’t like commenting on opposition players is because we don’t know what’s going on in the dressing room, we don’t know what’s going on in their private lives.”
Trott would not be the first England cricketer to suffer such an illness while on tour. Former Captain Andrew Flintoff recently hosted a television program that dealt with sports stars suffering depression and stress, something that he admitted to as well as his friend and team mate Steve Harmison, and boxer Ricky Hatton. Marcus Trescothick courageously wrote about it in his autobiography, and how at times he simply did not want to go on playing.
This is nothing new, there were players in the 80’s who struggled with being away from their families for three months, there are also members of the media following cricket tours who have fallen prey to this in-discriminatory illness.
What has been good to see is the reaction of many cricket fans who have not taken a cheap shot and the support coming from former players such as Dean Jones and Shane Warne. Andrew Flintoff makes a valid point in his tweet, “Over the hardest hurdle in his recovery by facing it head on, which is something we are not all able to do.”
Sports stars may have the glamour and the money but they are all human and they make sacrifices which many of us will never understand. At the end of the day it is only a game, and with cricket having a higher level of suicide amongst ex players than the national average in every test playing nation, we should take notice of players suffering in this way and all wish them a speedy recovery, while at the same time respecting their privacy.