PCA defends Trott exit

  • Last Updated: March 17 2014, 13:12 GMT

Michael Vaughan's criticism of batsman Jonathan Trott highlights a general lack of understanding towards mental health issues, according to players' union chief Angus Porter.

Jonathan Trott: Has the full backing of the PCA
Jonathan Trott: Has the full backing of the PCA

Former England captain Vaughan said on Monday that he felt "conned" by Trott's explanation for returning home from the disastrous Ashes tour after the first Test.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said at the time of Trott's departure that he was suffering from a stress-related illness, and the Warwickshire man has said in recent interviews with several media organisations that he was "burnt out", but not depressed, and is hoping to regain his England place this summer.

Vaughan, who captained England in 51 Tests from 2003 until 2008, is of the opinion the out-of-form Trott took the easy way out Down Under as his team-mates then went on to suffer an infamous 5-0 whitewash.

Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, he said: "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.

"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.

"In his interview with Sky Sports he then completely disrespected anybody who has gone through depression and mental illness by using words such as "nutcase" or "crazy".

He added: "When I hear players talking about burn-out, I suspect it is an excuse. You never see players retiring from sport and talking about burn-out when they are playing well.

"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 did not fight and got on a plane and went home. It is harsh but that is the reality."

But the Professional Cricketers' Association, the representative body of past and present first-class cricketers in England and Wales, has taken a dim view of Vaughan's comments.

Chief executive Porter thinks the 39-year-old Yorkshireman is naive on the subject of mental illness, adding Trott has the PCA's full backing.

"The article highlights issues we have with a lack of understanding on mental illness. I'm not an expert and neither is Michael," said Porter.

"Each individual case is different and it is wrong to simply try to put cases in convenient boxes.

"From what I was told, Jonathan's decision to return home was the correct one, and it is wrong of people to condemn him for that decision.

"We wish Jonathan well and hope he makes a quick recovery."

Trott was given further support over the matter by a mental health charity.

Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: "Much of the debate around Jonathan Trott's departure is based on the assumption that there is a clear dividing line between people with mental health problems and everyone else, when the reality is much more complex.

"We all have mental health, in the same way we all have physical health and they will both fluctuate over time.

"Whether or not Trott has a diagnosable mental health problem is beside the point, his mental health was clearly suffering at the time and if he hadn't taken action, he may well have gone on to develop more serious problems.

"To admit to struggling with your mental health is not a weakness but an act of strength, which should be encouraged."


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