Jonathan Trott is brave, Alec Stewart tells What's the Story?

Last Updated: 02/12/13 4:44pm

Alec Stewart commended Jonathan Trott's bravery in facing up to his stress-related illness on What's The Story?

The batsman flew home from Australia following England's first Ashes Test defeat in Brisbane and it has since emerged that the Warwickshire ace has been battling the problem for some time.

"I know Jonathan Trott and he's an intense character but this came as a huge shock."

Alec Stewart

Former England captain Stewart admitted he was surprised by the incident but reckons the precedent of Marcus Trescothick publicly addressing his own mental health problems in the past has paved the way for the likes of Trott to make the bold move of walking away from the Ashes to tackle the issue.

"I know Jonathan Trott and he's an intense character but this came as a huge shock because he kept it very much under wraps, as did the team and the ECB," said Stewart. "I have huge sympathies for him.

"Marcus Trescothick openly admitted he had a problem and has then spoken very well about it, written a book and is supporting these types of illnesses. That gave it publicity.

"Now the Professional Cricketers' Association are doing an outstanding job to make sure these cases are few and far between - but you can't just sit back and say everything's covered.

"Cricket is an individual team game - when you're out there batting you're on your own and it's how you cope with that. Many will cope very well but others have suffered.

"But although people say it's brave he's dealt with it himself [for so long], it's actually braver to hold your hand up and say I've got an issue and I need help."

Stewart knows first-hand about the intensity of life on tour as an England cricketer and says it's hugely important the players have the ability to distance themselves from the game when they are away from the field.

"I think it helps if you can have a release - if you can step back and say playing cricket for England is my job," he said.

"We all need to get away. Whether that's being with your family, watching a game of football, whatever it may be. If you haven't got that release it's all-encompassing.

"And the higher the level you're at the more scrutiny you're under."

Structure

While the exact details of Trott's problem are unclear, Olympic bronze medal-winning 400m runner Katharine Merry says the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) clearly have good structures in place to have managed Trott's issue successfully for so long.

And the former athlete suspects something must have triggered Trott's sudden return home.

"We hear how [the issue] has been managed over a period of time, so it's obviously something he's continued to struggle with," she said.

"My initial thought was 'why are you putting him in the team in the first place, why are you sending him out to the Ashes if you know he has condition he might struggle with?'

"But actually if they're managing and they have the structures in place they think would help him through then something's happened that has meant he's regressed slightly.

"But you have to applaud the ECB for what they have in place."

You can hear the full discussion - including the thoughts of sports psychologist Lee Richardson and Times journalist Kevin Eason - by downloading the What's The Story? podcast here.