LONDON - England's Jonathan Trott has revealed he felt a sense of "guilt" after withdrawing early from the Ashes tour debacle in Australia with a stress-related illness. But the 32-year-old South Africa-born top-order batsman is confident he will be ready to make a return to cricket with county side Warwickshire in May. Trott, left England's Ashes tour of Australia after twice falling cheaply to fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in a crushing 381-run loss in the first Test at Brisbane.
Before his exit, Trott said he feared being labelled a "nutcase". Trott's departure came during a wretched tour where England were whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes and saw off-spinner Graeme Swann announce his retirement before the series was over. Afterwards, England coach Andy Flower quit and when the team returned home officials dramatically announced the end of star batsman Kevin Pietersen's international career, citing a need for team rebuilding.
Trott, who made a hundred on his Test debut, against Australia at The Oval in 2009, added he felt he'd abandoned his team-mates. "I'd experienced a lot of success with England and a lot of good times and not many bad times and seeing the guys struggling out there was pretty tough in that I should have been there going through the tough times," Trott said in an interview to be aired on Sky Sports on Sunday.
"That was probably the toughest thing being at home while the other guys are getting a bit of a barrage in Australia and I'm what felt like a million miles away from it." Trott was already in Hong Kong when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed he'd left the tour. "It was really weird," he said.
"I woke up in Hong Kong and the news was about to break in Australia I'd left so it was really strange, and then the guys walked out at Adelaide (for the second Test) and things didn't go well and a feeling of guilt started kicking in."
The manner of Trott's dismissals in Brisbane led Australia opener David Warner, unaware of his England opponent's condition, to label him as "weak". "I remember day two or day three - it was a bit of a blur," Trott recalled. "I was getting headaches and all sorts of things and I wasn't eating properly towards the end and that's when the sleep started getting disruptive and emotionally that was probably when I was worst and it just boiled over. I had nothing left in the tank or the battery -- mentally and emotionally pretty drained."
Back in England, Trott said he'd feared a public backlash. "You know, they think 'There goes that nutcase' or whatever and you're not quite sure what people's perceptions are because anybody would want to go on an Ashes tour and play in an Ashes and he's just walked away from that and it was tough. "People come up to you and say, 'It's good to see you're out and about' and I'm like, 'I'm not crazy I was just burnt out'."
Now Trott hopes to play for Warwickshire in a two-day pre-season season match against Gloucestershire on April 1 ahead and is looking to return to England duty in a one-day international against Scotland on May 9. "I know there's a Scotland game at the beginning of May. That would be a good game to get back into the mix, back into the squad environment and then at the end of the month there's Sri Lanka (who are touring England)," Trott said. "I don't want to be one of those cricketers who picks and chooses. I want to be available from the word go."