Jonathan Trott 'on schedule' to play for Warwickshire and target England return

As a centrally contracted player, England have a say in when he returns to cricket

Jonathan Trott is expected to take the first step on his long road to returning to cricket this week with discussions about playing for Warwickshire.

Almost three months after the former England batsman left the Ashes tour early with a stress-related illness, Trott hopes to meet the new managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton.

As a centrally contracted player, England have a say in when Trott returns to cricket and it is understood the discussions will focus on making himself available for his county's first fixture of the season.

Yet despite the new England selector Angus Fraser hinting that the 32-year-old's absence from Warwickshire's pre-season tour to Barbados could cast doubt over his readiness to return to first-class cricket, Trott's agent confirmed that he is making good progress and is "on schedule" to feature in the match against Oxford University at The Parks, which starts on 7 April.

"Since Jonathan returned from Australia, his over-riding aim was to return to play for Warwickshire at the start of the season," read a statement from Eleven 01 Management. "He continues to make good progress and is on schedule to return for the Bears as intended.

''At no stage was there any intention for Jonathan to join Warwickshire on their pre-season tour of Barbados and therefore he was never omitted from the trip."

Fraser, who was confirmed as the third member of England's new-look selection panel alongside Downton and national selector James Whitaker last week, had said that given Trott's absence from the Warwickshire tour "you would wonder if he would feature at the start [of the season]". However, it is understood that the former England No 3 is optimistic about making a comeback.

Trott left Australia at the end of November after being dismissed twice by the fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in the first Test in Brisbane, with former coach Andy Flower stating at the time that the batsman would be "taking an indefinite break from all cricket". Trott's condition has been monitored by England and Wales Cricket Board officials, although they appreciate he cannot be rushed back into international action.

Warwickshire refused to comment on whether Trott will be ready to play against Oxford, although the director of cricket Dougie Brown said earlier this week that "he has heard nothing from the ECB about when he might be ready to return".

"We have said all along that we are here when he is ready to come back but we do not know exactly when that might be," Brown added.

Meanwhile, concussion has forced South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren to withdraw from the Proteas squad to face Australia in the second Test in Port Elizabeth, which starts tomorrow.

McLaren was admitted to a clinic in Johannesburg with mild concussion and suffering from nausea the day after being struck on the helmet by a fierce bouncer from Johnson during the first Test.

Women's World T20: England make changes

England have announced five changes to the victorious Ashes touring party for next month's ICC Women's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh. Batters Tammy Beaumont and Fran Wilson are recalled and spinners Jodie Dibble, Rebecca Grundy and Danielle Hazell are also selected.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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