London: England batsman Jonathan Trott is reportedly set to take another break from cricket due to the stress issues that forced him to quit the recent Ashes series, while talented all-rounder Ben Stokes has been taking anger management advice to avoid a repeat of the episode that cost him his World Twenty20 place when he broke a wrist punching a dressing-room locker.
Against this backdrop, Australian Trevor Bayliss is still in the running to coach England, and was due for a second interview on Friday.
Trott decided to pull out of the Ashes tour after the first Test in Brisbane with what the England and Wales Cricket Board described as a “stress-related illness”.
The 32-year-old spent four months away from the game working with a psychologist and the ECB’s medical team in a bid to rebuild his career.
Trott later described his Ashes exit as a case of “burn-out” and said he hoped to return to England duty this season.
But according to the Daily Mail’s report on Thursday, he has had to step away from the firing line again after just one championship match for his county Warwickshire in which he scored 37 and 26 against Sussex.
According to the Mail, it was “a far from easy decision to take for the emotional Trott, but his anxiety levels have been so high that he felt he had no choice for his own wellbeing”.
The news will inevitably lead to speculation that Trott’s England career is over, but he reportedly hopes more specialist treatment will enable him to return.
Stokes has not picked up a bat since he broke the scaphoid bone in his right wrist by punching the locker after he was dismissed for a first-ball duck in a Twenty20 international against West Indies in Barbados last month.
The 22-year-old suffered a similar injury earlier in his career when he punched a fire door during a club match, but hopes that sessions with England’s sports psychologist, Mark Bawden, will help him to control his temper.
“England have got a sports psychologist who you can have some chats with him and let out things which you wouldn’t tell someone on the street,” Stokes said. “Anything that stops me doing what I did is going to be helpful.”
Stokes’ embarrassment, and a full apology to his teammates before he headed back to England, ensured that there was no need for a dressing down from England’s limited-overs coach, Ashley Giles.
Stokes will have to wait at least another month before he is picked by England again. No date on his comeback has been set and he is due to see a specialist again on May 12, three days after England plays its next one-day international against Scotland in Aberdeen.
With the England coching job, Peter Moores is the front-runner to replace Andy Flower, but Trevor Bayliss, the 51-year-old who recently coached NSW to the Sheffield Shield title, impressed ECB officials when they met in Dubai two weeks ago while he was preparing his Kolkata Knight Riders team for the Indian Premier League. He is set for a second interview with Paul Downton, the managing director of the England team, via Skype.
Moores met Downton on Wednesday to outline his vision for resurrecting England after the Ashes whitewash and has strong supporters within the higher echelons of the ECB, while Ashley Giles has been groomed for the top job for the past two years.
Mick Newell, of Nottinghamshire, Mark Robinson, of Sussex, and Giles have all also been interviewed this week. Downton will make the final decision, which will then be rubber-stamped by the ECB’s executive board, chaired by Giles Clarke.
The appointment of Bayliss would cause consternation within the county set-up because of a desire to promote a home-grown coach, but there is a chance he could be teamed with his former assistant when he was coach of Sri Lanka, Paul Farbrace.