Vaughan slams ‘burnt out’ Trott for trivialising mental illness

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Burnt out: Trott said it was not depression which led him to leave the Ashes.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan felt deceived by Jonathan Trott's revelation last weekend that he left England's Ashes tour of Australia suffering from "burn out", he admitted on Monday.

When Trott quit what turned out to be a 5-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia after twice falling cheaply to fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, England officials said he was suffering from a "stress-related illness".

Although an imprecise term, this was taken to mean South Africa-born batsman Trott was suffering from problems beyond the usual cares of international cricket.

However, Trott told Sky he'd been "burnt out" but was not depressed. That prompted Vaughan, England captain from 2003-2008, to write in his column in Monday's Daily Telegraph: "I feel a little bit conned we were told Jonathan Trott's problems in Australia were a stress-related illness he had suffered for years.

"We were allowed to believe he was struggling with a serious mental health issue and treated him with sensitivity and sympathy.

"He was obviously not in a great place but he was struggling for cricketing reasons and not mental, and there is a massive difference.

"There is a danger we are starting to use stress-related illness and depression too quickly as tags for players under pressure," Vaughan, himself a former top-order batsman, added.

In his interview with Sky, Trott said he feared the public thinking he was a "nutcase", adding that he wasn't "crazy".

However, Vaughan wrote Trott had "completely disrespected anybody who has gone through depression and mental illness by using words such as 'nutcase' or 'crazy'.

"I find it staggering he is so ill-informed that he used those words," Vaughan insisted.

"I have friends who have been diagnosed with depression. They are not nutcases or crazy. They have picked up an illness that is invisible to others but can be debilitating.

"We have seen other England cricketers suffer from depression," said Vaughan, whose former Test colleague Marcus Trescothick had his international career cut short by a stress-related illness.

"I do not think Trott realises just how important an issue it is."

Vaughan, recalling his own struggles with the bat, wrote: "As a player there were many times I went back to my hotel room at night and broke down because I did not know where my next run was going to come from.

"I thought I was suffering from depression but I was just out of form.

"When I hear players talking about burnout, I suspect it is an excuse. You never see players retiring from sport and talking about burnout when they are playing well."

Trott scored just 19 runs in two innings in the first Test at Brisbane and struggled against the bowling of Australia left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson.

His performance in Brisbane was labelled "poor and weak" by Australia batsman David Warner, who was later criticised for his insensitivity by mental health groups and accused of being "disrespectful" by England captain Alastair Cook.

Vaughan's judgment was arguably even more severe, the Yorkshireman writing: "What Trott will have to accept is that players in his own dressing room and in the opposition will look at him and think at the toughest of times he did a runner.

"He admitted that the previous occasion he suffered burnout was in South Africa in 2009/10, the only other time he has faced top-quality fast bowling.

"Until he corrects the faults in his game against fast bowling, he will not get any better. "He did not fight and got on a plane and went home. It is harsh but that is the reality."

Warwickshire batsman Trott told Sky he wanted to regain his England place.

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Gavaskar: ‘Fletcher has done nothing. Replace him with Dravid’

Sudhir Gupta 11/03/2014
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Outrage: Sunil Gavaskar is furious with Duncan Fletcher's performance as India coach.

Sunil Gavaskar has called for the immediate sacking of India’s chief coach Duncan Fletcher and wants batting legend Rahul Dravid to replace the Zimbabwean.

The former Indian captain said: “For me, Duncan Fletcher would get 1.5 in a scale of 10 as far as his success is concerned. I believe a younger guy should be appointed as the coach of the Indian team.

“Rahul Dravid is one man who is enormously respected and is a successful captain having won series in West Indies and England.

“When he speaks, the Indian players – some of whom are superstars – listen to him as they know how much preparation went into his game.

“I know it’s only 11 months [until] the World Cup and people don’t want to tinker with support staff. But had it been the staff of 2011 [Gary Kirsten, Paddy Upton and Eric Simons], I would have agreed. But what has Fletcher done? He has done nothing. His achievements as a cricketer weren’t anything incredible. He was an ECB reject. The ECB dispensed with his services.“

"A coach has to be somebody who is in touch with the modern game and take the team forward. If Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh all stalwarts of Indian cricket can be dropped on poor form then why not drop support staff for poor performance? 

“Fletcher never had credentials of Gary Kirsten or John Wright, who were achievers in international cricket. The way things work in India is completely different. Kirsten was never the most talented cricketer but he was very successful in both Tests and ODIs. He did it the hard way and when he spoke to the players about value of hard work and training, they listened to him. You need someone with a positive outlook, with fair bit of receptivity and flexible thinking.”

He said that India as a team has not improved one bit in the three years since Fletcher took charge from Kirsten after the 2011 World Cup.

“In Fletcher’s tenure, there has hardly been any improvement as a team. There has been no improvement of players individually also. Somewhere, this slide needs to be stopped. There is still 11 months left for the World Cup. It’s a lot of time and the current lot has done nothing."

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Matthews lines up Thirimanne as Sangakkara replacement

Sudhir Gupta 10/03/2014
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Legend in the making: Thirimanne was integral to Sri Lanka's Asia Cup success.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews believes opener Lahiru Thirimanne is ready to step into the shoes of veteran Kumar Sangakkara after the 24 year-old scored a brilliant century to anchor Sri Lanka’s winning chase in the Asia Cup final against Pakistan.

Thirimanne scored 101 for his third one-day hundred, and second of the tournament, as Sri Lanka chased a 261-run target in 46.2 overs.

Mathews revealed that the opener had been playing with a niggle and the application he showed while batting was commendable having missed most of Sri Lanka’s series against Bangladesh with an ankle injury.

“Thirimanne has been amazing for us,” Mathews said. “He got injured, unfortunately, in the last series but he came back for us. He had a little bit of a niggle still, while he was batting, in the last two games, and he was very courageous to come out and play, the way he did.

“I am very happy, because you push him up the order, you push him down the order [and he still gets runs]. He’s one of those players who never gets a chance at one spot. And wherever he gets the opportunity he scores runs for us. And that’s a team player for me, and he performed very well for us, he’s a great find.”

When asked if Thirimanne had been seen as Sangakkara’s possible replacement in the Sri Lanka setup, Mathews agreed: “Yeah, after Sangakkara and Mahela [Jayawardene] retire, Thirimanne and [Dinesh] Chandimal are the ones who are going to take the reins. It is not easy to fill their shoes, but the way they are performing right now, I’m pretty sure they’ll take responsibility in the future.”

As Matthews states, Thirimanne has been thrust up and down the order during his 62-match ODI career and, after his century in the final, his average in the top three rose to 49.08 in 14 innings, while at No4 or lower, he averages 22.80 in 33 innings.

Mathews said the team had not decided where he will bat in the future.

“We’ve got to see how it goes,” Mathews said. “He opened the batting because [Tillakaratne] Dilshan got injured in the Bangladesh series. As I said before, he’s one of those players, you give him the opportunity, wherever you bat him, he will score runs for us. We still haven’t thought about where he’s going to bat, but definitely he’s been a find for us this tournament.”

Talisman Lasith Malinga also had a great outing in the final, picking up all five Pakistani wickets to fall, the second time during the tournament that he managed to do so against the same opposition, delighting Matthews in the process. 

“I am really happy that he rested against Bangladesh,” Mathews added. “It’s not easy to play consistently, especially for the fast bowlers who especially tire out so much.

“We don’t have a lot of time in between matches so it’s always good to manage the fast bowlers, especially their workloads, and we saved him for the final.

“He got a five-for in the first game against Pakistan, and also another five-for today, so he’s been performing tremendously for us and he’s been our premier bowler for so many years.”

Meanwhile, thousands of fans lined up the streets of Colombo as a victorious Sri Lankan team returned home after clinching their fifth Asia Cup title.

The players were taken to Sri Lanka Cricket’s headquarters in an open-top bus as fans lined the streets, waving flags, decked in blue to celebrate their heroes' efforts in Bangladesh.

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