Jonathan Trott is still a valued member of England’s ODI set-up
Jonathan Trott is a vital member of England's ODI side despite the batsman's relatively miserly strike-rate, writes Harry Kemble
Some England supporters may feel that Jonathan Trott’s innings in New Zealand’s victory in Hamilton was as predictable as the result was unexpected.
England’s number three has regularly been criticised – recently more than ever – for his inability to increase an ODI strike rate of 74.91 per hundred balls – a rate considered miserly in an era of ever-increasing scores.
In Sunday’s match, after clipping his first ball for four through mid-wicket, Trott took a further 60 balls to find the boundary again.
England will argue Trott vitally anchored the innings after the early loss of captain Alastair Cook, with the score on 11.
But his detractors say in a tight game where runs were precious, Kevin Pietersen, who was used at three in India to reasonable effect, should be the long-term option.
Historically, the side’s best batsman will be sent in at three to set the pace of the innings after having gauged the wicket and the strength of the opposition.
Trott is currently pencilled in to bat at three come June’s ICC Champions Trophy in England despite the clamour that grows for another batsman to be given a chance.
Last summer, the South African-born batsman averaged 53 in the ODI series against West Indies, Australia and South Africa with a run of scores of 42, 43 not out, 54, 17, 64 not out, 10, 23, 71 and 48.
But none were scored with a strike-rate above 80 – the considered the benchmark for today’s stellar one-day batsmen.
Trott, who has only hit two sixes in his 55-match ODI career, has often been cited since making his debut in 2009 for his slow-scoring hindering England.
Memorably at Mohali in 2011 – a game England needed to win to stay in the series with India – Trott’s score 98* off 116 was eclipsed by Samit Patel blasting 70 off 43 deliveries. Needless to say India cantered to their victory target of 298 with four balls to spare.
Yet, Trott remains at three and it is easy to see why.
Under new regulations, teams understand that a solid platform in the first ten overs is essential if the big hitters are going to utilise the end of the innings.
Despite his much-criticised strike rate, Trott is the ideal candidate to provide the base from which England’s Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and now Jos Buttler can launch their assault.
Also in terms of runs scored, his record across the world is unrivalled within the England set-up.
In Asia – a problematic frontier for England – Trott’s average stands at 47 with Pietersen (45.5) and Morgan (36) behind.
Trott represents a marked contrast to other players with his dogged resistance – still a worthy attribute in ODI cricket – that not all England’s players have shown in recent matches.
Just ask Craig Kieswetter, who lost his place after poor shot selection put paid to any hopes he had of starting as England’s number one stumper.
England’s selectors are well aware that the Champions Trophy is a real opportunity to win their maiden 50-over ICC event and have earmarked Trott to help lead the charge.
Trott’s critics better get used to it because he is here to stay.