JONATHAN Trott is England’s most reliable one-day international batsman and has the statistics to prove it.
Yet almost throughout his 56-match career, his involvement has divided opinion.
There are those who acknowledge England’s top six needs a lynchpin for the rest to bat around; then there are others who insist Trott’s style of accumulation is outdated.
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As England prepare for tomorrow’s ODI decider against New Zealand at Eden Park, the same record still plays.
Trott has returned, after being rested for the fivematch series in India last month, with back-to-back half-centuries – the second undefeated as he and Joe Root carried England to a series- levelling eight-wicket victory with an unbroken century stand in Napier.
That success at McLean Park was, however, merely the Trott issue in microcosm.
Batting at his accustomed pivotal number three position, he oversaw a near sixan- over run chase in stands with captain Alastair Cook and then Root.
The rate peaked above seven at one point, and those who doubt Trott’s worth will point to the fact that it was Yorkshireman Root, in only his seventh ODI, who took the initiative by hitting over the top and into unconventional spaces, while England’s mainstay ticked along.
Root’s eye-catching emergence – three fifties, a strike rate above 90 and average in the mid-70s – is bound to heighten the argument, especially with Kevin Pietersen’s return imminent in time for the Champions Trophy on home ground.
In that context, Trott’s impressions of Root after two significant stands together this week are of interest.
Both Cook and his opposite number Brendon McCullum were effusive in their praise last night for the young Yorkshireman.
‘‘Joe’s a very impressive young lad,’’ Trott said.
‘‘It’s important to keep developing as a young player, and appreciate how tough international cricket can be.
‘‘It’s a fantastic start for him, and he looks a fine talent.
As long as he continues to work hard, and guys around him support him, his future looks bright.’’ So too does late developer Trott’s. At 31 he is still only three-and-a-half years into his international career, discounting two early Twenty20s in 2007.
He would love to stay in that number three slot he has made his own.
‘‘That’s where I’ve batted all my international career ...
everyone’s entitled to their opinion,’’ he said.
‘‘As long as I’m playing according to the instructions and guidelines given to me I can’t do much more.’’