Former England batsman Jonathan Trott, looking to revive his Test career after walking out during the Ashes in Australia with stress issues just over a year ago, knows it will not be an easy process.
To reinforce that, he was out for just six in the England Lions’ three-day warm-up match against a Gauteng XI in Soweto on Monday.
The 33-year-old, Cape Town-born and a former SA Under 19 player, is captain of a 15-man England Lions squad on a month-long tour of South Africa, in which they will play two four-day games against South Africa A this month.
But just getting out on to the field is a step in the right direction.
Trott returned to cricket last year after months of therapy following his decision to leave the 2013-2104 England tour to Australia, saying he was ’emotionally and mentally spent’.
‘I had a “situational anxiety”. It is pretty common with regard to everyday life, but when played out in front of the world media and press it is quite a big thing.’
Now, he says, he still has aspirations to play for England.
‘I remember going on previous Lions trips in 2007 and 2008 and having to do my time on those and prove myself. That is something that I need to do again’ he said.
‘Cricket is cruel and kind to you at the same time. It is a game you definitely love, but sometimes you question why you do it. I have found myself in a situation where I am enjoying it again.’
As a captain, he can enjoy the start his team had against the Gauteng XI. His openers put on 176 for the first wicket, and both retired. Gauteng rookie paceman Keith Dudgeon had Trott caught behind after just 13 deliveries. But the England Lions ended the day on 361 for four
England Lions four-day squad: Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire, Capt), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jack Brooks (Yorkshire), Matthew Dunn (Surrey), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Adam Riley (Kent), Sam Robson (Middlesex), James Vince (Hampshire), Mark Wood (Durham)
Fixtures: January 11-14 v South Africa A, 1st unofficial Test, Paarl; 18-21 v South Africa A, 2nd unofficial Test, Bloemfontein; 25 v South Africa A, 1st unofficial ODI, Bloemfontein; 28 v South Africa A, 2nd unofficial ODI, Kimberley; 31 v South Africa A, 3rd unofficial ODI, Potchefstroom. February 2 v South Africa A, 4th unofficial ODI, Pretoria; 5 v South Africa A, 5th unofficial ODI, Benoni