England legend Jonathan Trott bowled over by talent in Scotland set-up

JONATHAN TROTT can’t remember Scotland’s famous one-day victory over England at the Grange in 2018? Was it on TV that day?

A pause and then a smile starts to creep across the former England batter’s face. He remembers it alright. Trott had been three years retired from international cricket by that point but that one still stung.

The one consolation for Trott was that the match-winning hero of the hour – Calum MacLeod who smashed 140 not out – was someone he knew well.

“Just joking, I did see that one,” he admits. “It was a really tight game but Calum played really well and I was chuffed for him as he was at Warwickshire with me as a youngster. Obviously that result hurt at the time but it’s nice when you see guys you know doing well.”

Trott and MacLeod have been reunited these last few weeks and this time the South African-born coach is in Scotland’s corner.

Persuading one of the finest top-order batters of his generation to lend his ample experience and knowledge in the run-up to the T20 World Cup is an undoubted coup by Cricket Scotland.

Trott is still in the infancy of his coaching career but has plenty of advice to go around. In the recent home series in Zimbabwe, the one-day games against Oman and Papua New Guinea and now the countdown to the World Cup, he has seen talent and passion in abundance. If he can help Shane Burger’s men enjoy a productive tournament when the action gets underway then that would be as personally enrichening as any Ashes century.

“What have I seen so far? Well, I’ve seen some of the biggest sixes I’ve ever seen in my hit life hit by a Scottish player which is very exciting,” he says of George Munsey’s blast with the bat this week against Ireland.

“Speaking to Shane before joining up he told me it was a very powerful batting line-up with some talented players and boy was he right!

“So it’s about helping them to get the most out of themselves so they’re ready when the pressure is going to be on under the lights and in front of the cameras. They’re going in the right direction so it’s about maintaining that so that when these warm-up games are finished the guys are really confident and looking forward to facing Bangladesh and the likes.

“Having finished up the season with Warwickshire, it’s a great experience personally for me as a coach of just a few years to be given the chance to work in international cricket.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the guys and seeing the passion for the game in Scotland having only previously played a few games against them for Warwickshire.

“The job satisfaction for me will be hopefully seeing them do well. That replaces the feeling you had as a player when you’re part of a team that wins something big or when you do well personally. Seeing guys doing well, I get a lot of satisfaction from that.”

Life on a cricket tour can be tough for a player in normal circumstances but even more onerous during Covid times when bio-secure bubbles mean there is little chance of escaping the team hotel.

Trott endured anxiety issues at different points in his career and once quit an England Ashes tour of Australia but believes any stigma over mental health is long gone.

“I certainly think the world’s perception of it has changed,” he added. “People are probably a little bit more accommodating or understanding if you like.

“It’s a lot easier for people now of all generations to talk about it. In sports you sometimes expect people to be almost robot-like. I think it’s going in the right direction and it’s good to see people speaking about it now.

“My door is always open. I am happy to talk to anybody whether it’s about cricket, baseball, NFL, anything. I’m no professional but I like to learn and I like to listen.”

And should Scotland get through the first phase and meet England in the Super 12s? Trott smiles again.

“I don’t know about having mixed loyalties as I always want England to do well! So I’ll just say I hope it’s a good game of cricket.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992