Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2013 Contents A65
Thursday, November 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
BRISBANE---A decision by England bats-
man Jonathan Trott to withdraw from
the remainder of the Ashes series due to
a stress-related illness brought predictably
insensitive reactions from some sections
of the Australian media.
One depression expert, however, hopes
Trott s high-profile case might help other ath-
letes come forward without fear of ridicule.
And a sports psychologist suggested why verbal
taunts which often lead to anxiety and possibly
suicide seem to be so pronounced in crick-
et.Brisbane-based sports psychologist Dr. Phil
Jauncey, who has worked with many cricketers,
pointed to the slow-paced nature of the sport
that enables players to get up close and personal
with their opponents, allowing taunting ---
known locally as "sledging"---to have more
"In many other sports, you are too busy,
maybe one-on-one in tennis, or in rugby, the
game is just moving too fast," Jauncey said in
an interview Wednesday with The Associated
Press. "In cricket, you are standing around
this guy, you can keep talking at the batsman,
you have your mates around. In a sense it s
bullying. And if you ve got some issues, it
could get to you."
Jeff Kennett, a former premier of Victoria
state and now chairman of the Beyondblue
group that promotes awareness of depression
and anxiety, says the clichéd old If you can t
take the heat, get out of the kitchen mentality
only makes it worse for athletes.
"For every Jonathan Trott, there are hundreds
of sportsmen and women in the same position,
with the same condition, who now may feel
if they seek help they re going to be ridiculed,"
Kennett said in a reproachful statement after
the initial local reporting of Trott s departure.
"If Jonathan Trott had returned to the U.K.
for a physical injury you would not have got
these headlines. Because it s a mental health
illness or a stress-related illness, some in the
media have seen fit to actually mock him."
Certainly Sydney s Daily Telegraph was
among the newspapers that did. The tabloid
newspaper did, however, quote Sandy Gordon,
the former psychologist of the Australian cricket
team, as saying "we all need to get over this
macho view that someone dealing with a psy-
chological condition is somehow less worthy
than others. I find that view quite worrying."
England coach Andy Flower suggested he
might meet with his Australia counterpart,
Darren Lehmann, in talks designed to place
limits on sledging ahead of the second test
starting Dec. 5 in Adelaide.
The England coach and captain Alastair
Cook both said comments by Australian open-
ing batsman David Warner regarding Trott in
a news conference last weekend were "disre-
spectful." Flower said those comments had
nothing to do with Trott s departure after just
one of five test matches. After Australia s 381-
run win in the first test, Warner admitted his
comments "probably went a little bit too far."
Former Australia opening batsman Matthew
Hayden told a breakfast television show
Wednesday that Australia should rebuff any
attempts by England to scale down the amount
of sledging, saying "it s all part of the game."
And Jauncey admits that while Flower s
suggestion of peace talks makes sense in the
context of the last few days, it might work
against him and England.
"The very fact that Flower is asking for it,
the Australians might think they re getting
under his skin, so we must be getting to
them, " he said. "Or it might show strength
from Flower, let bygones be bygones. Perception
is in the eye of the beholder."
Lehmann said he has no intention of chang-
ing Australia s tactics for the Adelaide match.
"Jonathan Trott has gone home and we
hope he gets well soon," Lehmann told an
Adelaide radio station. "We do care about that
but we are still going to play hard cricket."
"From my point of view, Andy looks after
his side and I look after my side, that s what
you do in the game of cricket," Lehmann said.
"I played with Andy at South Australia, I talk
to him all the time, but at the end of the day,
he s in control of the England cricket team
and we ve got to try and get the Ashes back."
Australia and England have been contesting
the Ashes since the 1880s, and tension some-
times boil over. England has won the last three
series, increasing the angst among players and
fans in Australia.
Fairfax Media sports columnist Greg Baum
wrote Wednesday that Jonny Bairstow, who
could replace Trott in England s top six, expe-
rienced depression and anxiety in his family.
Bairstow s father, David, an England and York-
shire wicketkeeper, died by apparent suicide
15 years ago at the age of 46 after suffering
from depression. Baum wrote that in the 10
years between cricket historian David Frith
published "By His Own Hand," a book exam-
ining the incidence of suicide among cricketers,
in 1991 and a follow-up a decade later, the
number of reported cases had increased from
85 to more than 150.
The reason Frith gave was that cricket was
often a one-chance sport, where if a batsman
is out early in his innings---as Trott was twice
in Brisbane---the fans, opposing players and
media can be brutal.
"Now Trott has gone home to untangle his
mind, without prejudice to his future, and
with his team s blessing and---save for a Sydney
newspaper s infantilism---Australia s sympathy,"
Jauncey says the issue transcends all sports.
"For most players in any sport, verbal taunts
or sledging is like water off a duck s back,"
Jauncey says. "Usually players don t allow it
to put them off what they are trying to do.
It s only going to affect people who have some-
thing else going on in their life, something
outside of the sport itself. It might be the level
of sledging that pushed him over, but probably
it s more the self-doubt and lack of perform-
"Every player has off-field pressures," he
says. "It s not the pressure, but how you deal
with it. The more we get pro-active about it,
the sooner we can deal with the issues."
Cricket's link to depression
ADELAIDE---Australia fast bowler
Mitchell Johnson says he doesn t
anticipate a truce in the verbal spar-
ring between his team and England
for the second Ashes test beginning
Tuesday at Adelaide.
Johnson, who took man-of-the-
match figures of 9-103 in Australia s
381-run win in the first test at Bris-
bane, says England was being seri-
ously affected by the often vitriolic
He says any attempt by England
coach Andy Flowers to discuss a
toning down of the banter with his
Australian counterpart Darren
Lehmann should be batted away.
"I think it s worked for us, I def-
initely think they re rattled by it,"
Johnson said in Perth on Wednesday.
"They don t like it at all. Obviously
their coach has come out and wanted
a truce from what I ve heard. That s
not going to change from our end."
On Monday, veteran batsman
Jonathan Trott, who was out for 10
and 9 in Brisbane on short-pitched
deliveries, returned to England with
a stress-related illness. There was
no suggestion that sledging played
a part in his departure.
Lehmann told an Adelaide radio
station any changes were unlikely.
"From my point of view, Andy
looks after his side and I look after
my side, that s what you do in the
game of cricket," Lehmann said. "I
played cricket with Andy (at South
Australia), I talk to him all the time,
but at the end of the day, he s in
control of the England cricket team
and we ve got to try and get the
"Trott has gone home and we
hope he gets well soon. We do care
about that, but we re still going to
play really hard cricket."
Australia captain Michael Clarke
was fined 20 percent of his match
fee after television viewers heard
him telling England tailender and
pace bowler James Anderson to pre-
pare for a broken arm before a John-
On Wednesday Fairfax Media
reported that International Cricket
Council match referee Jeff Crowe
would speak to both teams about
their behavior following the finish
to the first test. It also reported that
David Warner was counselled by
team management over his criticism
When Flower was asked whether
the Australian opener should apol-
ogize or be punished for describing
England s "scared eyes" and Trott s
dismissal as "weak," he said: "We
set our own standards and the Aus-
tralians must set theirs."
Lehmann said he had spoken to
Warner about his comments.
"We re all about improving our-
selves off the field, so I spoke to
him, but that s a conversation I had
with him and the senior players and
that is dealt with," Fairfax quoted
Lehmann as saying.
Johnson, meanwhile, says he
understands what Trott is going
Johnson had a form slump while
playing for Australia in South Africa
and Sri Lanka in 2011 and says a six-
month toe injury layoff --- and time
to ponder his future --- was all that
prevented him from retiring.
"It was a real shock for me," John-
son said of Trott s departure from
Australia. "It can be tough at times
when it s not going so well.
"You start to think about every
little thing that s going on in your
life when you should be focusing on
one thing. It seems maybe he s
thinking that way at the moment,
and just needs to just get away from
the game. I just wish Trott the best.
Hopefully he can come back later
in the tour or in the future, because
he s a great player for England and
he s done exceptionally well."
England will play an Australian
Chairman s XI in a two-day match
in Alice Springs starting Friday.
Verbal taunts to continue in Ashes
Trott case highlights...
England's Jonathan Trott
prepares to bat in the nets
in Hobart, Australia, a day
before an Ashes cricket tour
match against Australia A.
The England Cricket Board
on Monday , issued a
statement saying Trott left
the Ashes tour with a
stress-related illness after
England's 381-run loss in the
first test on Sunday, a day
after he was targeted for
criticism by Australian
batsman David Warner.
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