From a sweaty Brisbane bearpit to the Bears' sparsely populated home on a quintessentially English spring day. This, a two-day friendly between Warwickshire and Gloucestershire, was a different cricketing world for Jonathan Trott, the mildest of reintroductions to the game he had abandoned in Australia, and he hopes the subtle beginnings of a brave new one. It began in earnest late this afternoon when he emerged from the pavilion as the shadows began to lengthen across Edgbaston.
It was his first trip to the crease since that traumatic innings 130 days previously when he was chewed up and spat out by Mitchell Johnson, the first steps towards, according to Trott's optimistic plan, a return to the England side a little more than a month from now. Today did not go according to that plan.
As at the Gabba, Trott faced a left-armer. David Payne is no Johnson – who is? – but he bowls at a brisk pace and he troubled Trott. His first ball was a help-yourself half-volley and Trott eased it through midwicket for two. That was as good as it got. Gloucestershire dropped two men back, one at fine leg and one at long leg, and in between deliveries Trott wandered away from the crease staring in their direction as if taking a visual prompt on keeping the hook and the pull out of sight.
There was one attempted pull, which ricocheted away off the bottom edge, and one neat duck beneath a bouncer in between studied defence. It lasted 25 minutes longer than his 10-minute nightmare at the Gabba. This time the 19th ball he faced was his last, long before it was possible to make any sort of judgement over his form. Having added a couple of singles he left a full delivery from Payne that thudded into his pads. He was gone for four.
However, he did earn the backing of his captain. "He looks in a good space now and feels ready to go," said Varun Chopra, who led Warwickshire here.
Trott will bat again today, followed by his first-class return against Oxford University next week. Ahead of England's first game of the summer in Scotland on 9 May he will have two County Championship matches to convince whoever is England coach to buy into the Trott plan.
Trott only picked up a bat for the first time since he returned after his first Test chewing-up by Johnson last week. Whether it was a "stress-related illness" as England said at the time or "burn-out" as Trott has since suggested, he has had a complete break from the game.
He eased himself back with a series of net sessions at Edgbaston, one of which was conducted by Graham Gooch. The fact that England's batting coach was in situ suggests that although he has been out of sight, he is not out of the minds of the men that matter.
However, given the chaos that surrounds England at the moment it may be an entirely different set of men that matter who assemble in Aberdeen five weeks down the line.Reuse content