Developments since the close of play…

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

I guess it comes down to how you like your scripts.

In an old theme that’s predictable as hell, you come up with the odd new twist, and we’ve got a few of them coming into play in and around the announcement that Jonathan Trott is heading home suffering from a Stress-related illness.

To me, it’s all part of The Ongoing Niggle that was always going to feature as a key element in the series.

It has been obvious for a while that Trott had some issues with short-pitched fast bowling, as most mortals would, and David Warner’s description of his second innings at The Gabba as weak might have been better left unsaid, but, to me at least, didn’t rate as “unprofessional”.

I may have the timing wrong, but the use of the latter term by Alastair Cook preceded the he’s going home announcement and looks an awful lot like part of the approach you’d take to limit the damage inflicted in the psychological Niggle War.

You’d have to assume that the England management team were aware of the deeper issues (at any rate they claim to have been) and had adopted an array of measures to handle the problem. Some of those would be negotiated with the batsman. Others, on a less official try it and see how it goes basis, put in place by the coach and support staff.

One way of handling those issues is to deflect scrutiny away from any perceived weakness by changing the subject. Don’t, in other words, talk about the man’s problem, divert the attention onto someone else’s unprofessionalism.

All of which, of course, depends on your definition of professionalism, doesn’t it?

If they knew there was an issue and the coach and support staff failed to take action, they’d be unprofessional. If someone in the England camp happened to let slip that Jonathan had a problem, to do something they’d be unprofessional.

Equally, if you’re out to induce doubts about technical issues and you suspected there was a weakness there that could be exploited, you’d be unprofessional.

Marcus Trescothick, The Clarke-Anderson Imbroglio

 © Ian Hughes 2014