It doesn’t get much better for Trott as he makes his well-earned debut

2009-08-19 00:00

JONATHAN Trott’s call-up to the English Test squad for the final Ashes Test at the Oval is just reward for his ability, hard graft and determination.

Cape Town-born Trott began his cricketing career at Rondebosch Boys’ High school, where he played alongside another talented cricketer Andrew Puttick. Trott was an impressive school cricketer, but always appeared to be in Puttick’s shadow. Trott, Puttick and Graeme Smith were part of a gifted South African team who took part in the U19 World Cup. Of the three players, Smith was the first to make his international debut, followed some years later by Puttick, who had taken the step up to first-class cricket faster than his schoolmate. Puttick represented the Cobras and quickly entrenched himself as an impressive run-scorer at the top of the order. Smith and Puttick became a formidable opening duo for the Cobras and were instrumental in the success of their franchise.

Trott, on the other hand, took a while to mature as a cricketer. He was eventually chosen for the Cobras franchise, but never as a permanent member of the side. While Puttick churned out the runs and eventually earned himself a call-up to the Protea Test squad, Trott was desperate for the opportunity to show what he was made of at franchise level.

Puttick’s international career was short-lived, however — he played just one ODI and spent a couple of matches on the bench.

All this time Jonathan Trott was working hard, but was still unable to cement a place for himself in the Cobras set-up. Had Trott not had the option of playing cricket in England, I believe he would eventually have gone on to make one of the South African franchise teams — the question remains whether he would have played for South Africa.

Fortunately for Trott, this was not the end of the road — as holder of a British passport he always had another option. After a number of seasons in and out of the Cobras, he decided to try his hand at county cricket.

His first stop was a trial at Warwickshire where he represented the second eleven. He piled on the runs and secured himself a contract with the county. By signing his contract with Warwickshire, Trott effectively closed the door on playing cricket in South Africa as a local player.

This would prove to be the beginning of an exciting chapter in his cricketing career.

After struggling to secure a contract in South Africa, Trott was suddenly earning way more than any franchise cricketer in this country and probably three times as much as his old rival, Puttick.

He went on to play first-class cricket in New Zealand for Otago during the English winter. He didn’t exactly set the cricketing world alight, but he did impress with his ability to score runs consistently.

After returning to his county Warwickshire, Trott found emphatic form and began to place significant pressure on the English selectors with a string of impressive performances. His aggressive stroke play ensured his selection for England in the T20 matches against the West Indies in 2007.

Tomorrow, in the final and deciding Test match in the Ashes, Trott will justifiably don his first Test cap for England — as a debut, it doesn’t get much better than this. He could be just what England needs to beef up their batting and put their stamp on the last match of the series.

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