Alastair Cook: Jonathan Trott is ready for ‘pressure cooker’

Test captain believes batsman can make successful return

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The Independent Online

England Test captain Alastair Cook feared Jonathan Trott’s international career was over 18 months ago, but feels he is now ready to face the “pressure cooker” once again.

Trott left the 2013-14 Ashes tour after the First Test in Brisbane, struggling with what was initially called a “stress-related condition” – it was later diagnosed as situational anxiety.

Cook was concerned that would be the end of his England career but has seen the 33-year-old rebuild with typical focus and determination, first with Warwickshire, then on England Lions’ tour of South Africa.

The pair are now favourites to open the batting together for the three Test matches in the West Indies this month, and are likely to begin their partnership in the first tour match in St Kitts & Nevis tomorrow. Uncapped Yorkshireman Adam Lyth is the other opener in the squad but Trott went out with the captain in yesterday’s centre-wicket practice session at Warner Park.

“He was in a bad place in Brisbane and at the time I would have been surprised that he’d come back, but it’s a huge credit to the work he’s done off the field and the effort he’s put in,” said Cook. “That obviously shows his desire to come back to play for England.

“He has almost demanded selection with the runs he has scored for Warwickshire and it’s great for me to see him back in an England shirt. He’s a great guy and if he gets his chance he’ll be desperate to do well.”

Cook accepted there was no guarantee over how Trott would react to the pressure of representing the senior team again – especially with Australia and Mitchell Johnson hoving into view again this summer.

“You don’t know 100 per cent until he’s put out in the environment – that is always unknown,” he said. “There’s a lot of things about selection that are unknown until you’re put into the pressure cooker of international cricket.

“But Trotty’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He feels confident in himself and he’s just looking forward to taking that next step. What we do know is he’s a quality player.”