Jonathan Trott – Is He Really a Fake?
Posted on March 18, 2014
When I go out to bat when I am playing cricket, something strange happens to me.
I can hear my own footsteps and literally feel the adrenalin going through my veins as my inner demons begin attacking my confidence from all directions.
As I take my position at the crease, it is as though the world has stopped to watch me fail; even the birds seem to stop singing.
As the bowler runs in, I am almost shaking with fear, not a fear of getting hurt but fear of an abrupt and humiliating end to something I have given up my day for. It’s horrible.
On the rare occasions I hang around, generally because of crap bowling or a series of flukes, the demons slowly drift away, my confidence increases and the ball appears to grow from the size of a garden pea to something more akin to one used for cricket.
Then, as I painfully edge into double figures, I become confident enough to attempt something beyond my ability and foolishly get myself out, before taking a long walk back to the pavilion, a journey that is interspersed with volleys of industrial language aimed at my own ineptitude.
I never experience those levels of stress in any other situation in my life, the feeling of getting out early or indeed, off the first ball, is so hideous, it almost induces vomit.
There are cricketers at every level of the game who experience the same trauma and it really does make you wonder why we bother; I do it out of lust, a desire to one day feel like I am on top of the situation and dictating the course of game.
So I guess that is stress that I feel, in fact I know it is stress, the same stress an international batsman feels when Mitchell Johnson is steaming in, short pitching grenades at his head.
However, in my opinion, it is not a mental illness (not yet anyway) it is part of being a cricketer; adrenalin and stress are as much a part of the game as a leather ball and willow bat.
It is an ongoing battle of mental strength and that’s why it is addictive.
What no-one knows is whether the pressure cooker of cricket can become the seed that leads to the type of debilitating mental illness that ravaged the mind of Marcus Trescothick.
Jonathan Trott left England’s tour of Australia after a humiliating experience in the battering dished out by Australia and we were led to believe that it was an illness similar to Trescothick’s.
However, it is now alleged, that in fact, he is nothing but a mere coward in the toughest of arenas of all and the ‘Stress related illness’ was just an excuse to get away from it all.
Johnathan Trott: Accused of feigning mental illness
It’s only my opinion but I think it is so difficult to know the mind of an individual. If I felt like I do as arrive at the crease, all the time, I would, without question, be a very sick man.
That is not a joke. If that fight/flight adrenalin surge and feeling of panic stricken isolation was something I had to deal with in day to day life, I would descend into madness.
If you have, or you have known anyone who has suffered stress related anxiety and depression, all the symptoms are those that I suffer when a wicket falls and it is my turn to bat.
Until we find out whether in certain individuals that the stress in a game of cricket can lead to a debilitating mental illness, we are better off not judging players like Trott, especially when we are not really sure of their state of mind.
Fortunately for me, my demons pass once I have changed and tasted my first sip of beer with my team mates and we are all laughing about the mishaps and the ups and downs of the day.
However, I often wonder how I would cope if I did it day in day out and my livelihood depended on it.
Would I learn to cope, or would a temporary stress related situation become permanent?
I will never know.