Action in the LV= County Championship was severely affected by the weather over the past seven days, a fact which makes choosing this week’s County Player of the Week a little difficult. As three of the scheduled nine matches were abandoned without a ball bowled and there were again concerns that Worcester’s New Road ground may be flooded, it was a man who some might say plays in the manner befitting a wet Monday morning – or in this case Thursday afternoon – Jonathan Trott who takes this week’s award.
Whereas his England colleagues Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell have struggled since returning to county duty – a factor which serves to demonstrate that the standard is nowhere near as low as the critics would have us believe – Trott came straight back into Warwickshire’s side and continued where he had left off for England – hitting the week’s highest score of 178 against Sussex at Hove. It came off 314 balls and, along with Varun Chopra – who hit 105 and with whom Trott put on 219 for the third wicket following the dismissal of Bell for a duck – was instrumental in Warwickshire’s mammoth first innings total of 545.
The 31 year-old from Cape Town made his Warwickshire first-team debut in 2003 and quickly established himself as a batsman with an apparently insatiable appetite for runs and one who possesses an excellent technique and temperament. He was finally called up by England for the final Ashes Test at The Oval and scored a century to end the season with a first-class average of well over 70. Since then he has not looked back and is now regarded as one of the world’s best batsmen, particularly in Test cricket, where he averages 52.7 after 28 matches.
His method of defence first may not attract too many admirers, but it is ruthlessly effective and mainly involves making the bowler bowl at him by leaving plenty of balls alone outside the off-stump. When the bowler is then forced to bowl straighter, he picks them off with his trademark leg-flick and is equally adept on the cover drive and cuts shots.
What the future holds appears to be more of the same, and he should not even be halfway through his eventual Test career, meaning that bowlers will have to endure more punishment over the coming years as Trott racks up many more big scores.
Other contenders for this week’s award include Trott’s Bears colleague Chopra; Kent and West Indies batsman Brendan Nash, who hit an unbeaten 132 against Yorkshire; and Lancastrian Steven Croft, who scored 113 at Taunton. Of the bowlers, Liam Dawson returned the week’s best figures with five for 29 against Leicestershire, while Andre Adams and Vernon Philander also recorded five-wicket hauls against Worcestershire and Lancashire respectively.
© Cricket World 2012