A tour of Bangladesh, for batsmen, is supposed to be like one of those all-inclusive holidays for the languorous rich. Sure, it's hot, but everything's served up on a plate. You just help yourself to what you want.
So it proved for four of England's top five. The exception was Jonathan Trott. Poor old Trotters' postcard home read 'given out caught off helmet, given run out by third umpire on unavailable footage, bowled off foot, pad and bat, dropped world's easiest catch. Wish you were here'.
When your luck's out, your luck's out, but Bangladesh has brought the curtain down on the first wave of Trottmania, initiated at the Oval when almost everyone proclaimed England's search for a number three over.
One thing, though, was obvious about Trott's batting from the start: he was the kind of player who Test teams would dry up. The strike rate stats from Bangladesh bear that out. While Pietersen [74.18], Collingwood [73.26], Prior [64.48], Cook [63.33] and Bell [61.84] scored their runs freely, Trott went along at 41.59.
Trott is the inverse of Ian Bell. Mentally, he's all over Test cricket like a rash. It's his game that lags behind. Batsmen tend to come into Tests with a lot of shots and then learn to rationalise their games [ergo KP and the sine qua non Steve Waugh]. Trott needs to do the opposite, which is harder to achieve. He needs to be backed while he does it.
NB: Steve James, intent on proving that having played the game professionally is no guarantee of judgement [or being able to write] is backing Ian Bell for number three. What's that saying again, about history repeating itself the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce...?
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