A few years ago, Time To Change released a series of adverts considering the difficulties associated with returning to work after an absence due to mental illness. With the tag line “Don’t be afraid to talk about mental health”, they tackled the concerns for both the individual and their work colleagues. Anyone who has suffered from one of the many suffocating and overwhelming invisible illnesses will know how hard facing other people can be, especially when they are aware of your condition.
The thing about having a mental illness is that it’s unlikely to be something you admire about yourself. You might accept it, but it usually wouldn’t feature on your list of best attributes. Consequently other people knowing about it can aggravate it, making you painfully more aware of this unseen prison that you feel trapped in.
So all of this will be on the mind of anyone going back to work after a break to deal with their demons. Add to that the indescribable pressure of the hopes of a cricket loving army of fans and the TV cameras transmitting your image around the world, and you are in for a pretty tough ride.
With that in mind, it seems understandable that Jonathan Trott failed in three out of four of his first innings back in an England shirt. Surely more remarkable by far is that he saw success with one knock – 59 – in the first innings of the 2nd Test against the West Indies.
It’s not to say the Trott should be given a free pass to fail, or that repeated poor performances should go overlooked, but we should remember what Trott is like at his best with bat in hand, and perhaps show some leniency in the lead up to the cricketing highlight of the summer – the Ashes.
It was during the 2009 Ashes series that Trott burst onto the international scene with 119 in his Test debut in the final match at the Oval. And if we’re going to win this forthcoming Ashes series we’re going to need moments, sessions, and individuals of brilliance to get us there.