Jonathan Trott's wonderful Warwickshire career brought him 19,752 runs and 90 wickets across the formats between 2003 and 2018.
A great Bear who played alongside many others. Here, at the start of our new series over the coming weeks, Trotty is the first to put on his thinking cap and take on the tough challenge of naming My Bears XI from all those he played with over the years.
Jonathan Trott’s My Bears XI
Ask Jonathan Trott to name his My Bears XI and you don’t have to wait long for a surprise, one of the opening batsmen is a player who never opened for Warwickshire.
That’s fair enough, though. So rich is the talent at Trott’s disposal that some order-rejigging is justified to cram in all the cream. That’s why he selects, as his opening pair, one player who opened for the Bears many, many times – Nick Knight – and one who never did – Kumar Sangakkara.
“Knighty has got to be at the top,” said Trott. “He was an established England player when I arrived at the club and he finished with an average of 50 for the Bears so that’s phenomenal. He is somebody I looked up to when I was embarking on my professional career. He was my benchmark for the way that I played.
“Then to open with him, because there are so many middle order batsmen I could name, I am going to put Kumar Sangakkara. That would give us two lefties to open.
“There’s not much you can say about Kumar. His batting speaks for itself. The year he came to Warwickshire was a tough year and I remember his first game, at home to Durham, when he batted brilliantly against Durham to score a century in really tough conditions. He left a huge gap in the side when he left.”Jonathan Trott
Knight and Sangakkara is a pretty powerful opening pair. For the rest of the top order, we insisted that Trotty include himself, as he should be there, so he goes in at four between two home-grown Bears, one of whom played 118 Tests for England and one of whom, to the surprise of many people, played none.
“At three, it’s got to be Ian Bell,” said Trott. “A Warwickshire legend and a fantastic cricketer for England and the Bears. To play alongside Ian in some really good England and Warwickshire sides was fantastic. The amount of runs he scored and games he won for Warwickshire, he certainly deserves to be at number three.
“I’ll put myself in at four because, before we started, you said I should! I am very aware that, for England, I batted at three and Belly at four, but it was always the other way round for the Bears so let’s leave it that way. I’ll slide in at four!
“Five is tricky because a lot of players could get in there who had a big impact on my career, the likes of Trevor Penney and Dominic Ostler, but I’ll go with Mark Wagh. A great natural talent. I saw him play some fantastic innings and he had the all-round game to play for England but unfortunately never got the opportunity. He was a very fit boy who worked very hard at his game and had all the attributes. I can’t think of a better number five.
“I should say the likes of Dom Sibley and Sam Hain may well have got in this team in time, but they are still building their careers. They haven’t played enough yet!
“At six we move into the all-rounders and it has to be Rikki Clarke – a super-talented guy. I have been very fortunate to play with a lot of fine players in my careers and he is one of the most talented I ever played with. I’ve never seen a guy so able to bat, bowl and catch the way he can. I have often said to him that I wish I had his natural talent. He is just a fantastic cricketer to have coming in at six and certainly talented enough to have played much more England.
“Then at seven I’ll have my wicketkeeper, Tim Ambrose. For pure glovemanship it would be Keith Piper, but I think, all round, batting and keeping and just standing next to him at slip and having a good chat, I will go for Amby. It was a real privilege and honour to play with Amby throughout my career.
“He was at his best when the going was tough. Many times he went in and got us out of a sticky situation though, with the six coming in before him in My Bears XI, I don’t think he’d be in that position too often!”
Which leads on to the bowlers – and some fierce competition for the new ball…
“At eight I’ll go for Chris Woakes. It’s been a joy to watch him start his career with Warwickshire and then get into the England team and really flourish as a cricketer. He is a fantastic all-round cricketer; a wizard with the ball, super-talented with the bat and just an all-round great guy.
At nine, I’ll have Heath Streak. He came to the club in 2004 and stayed as captain at the end of his international career and you could see how much he made our team better. We won the championship the year he arrived and he added an extra dynamic to the side. He gave us an extra bit with the ball, swung the Dukes with incredible control, and scored important runs down the order. I’m not sure many people hit a cricket ball as hard as he did.
“Jeetan Patel is at ten – another Warwickshire stalwart who has turned in some unbelievable performances. His record is up there with the great spinners Warwickshire have had. It is unique these days to have that consistency from an overseas player – just a magnificent servant to the club.
Then at Number 11, Dale Steyn…I can’t go past him. He can have the new ball and Streaky and Woakesy can fight for it at the other end! Dale played for us when he was just working himself back into the South African side and I think that’s when he really found his form. He came to Warwickshire looking for experience, a little bit like Allan Donald, a sort of finishing school, and went on to become one of the best bowlers the world has ever seen.
“Dale is probably the best bowler I ever faced. Skill-wise, he can do everything, so it was fantastic to stand at slip and take a few catches off him with the Bears. It was always a great contest whenever I faced him on the international circuit. Whenever I see him we always chat about Warwickshire and he is always very keen to know how the club’s going.”
So Steyn completes a formidable Trotty’s My Bears XI. All that remains is to name that vital component, the 12th man…
“I think it’s a pretty well-balanced XI,” said Trott. “And the 12th man is Neil Carter..he would be the best 12th man ever! He wouldn’t have fielded much, but would organise the trip and the meal money and do any calculations we need. He’s the only bloke I know who could try and create Duckworth/Lewis!”Jonathan Trott
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