Australian cricket great Steve Waugh has revealed he felt the need to leave tours plenty of times during his career, just like England’s Jonathan Trott.
Australian cricket great Steve Waugh says he sympathises with Jonathan Trott’s decision to leave England’s Ashes tour early, revealing he felt the need to on many occasions during his own storied career.
Trott withdrew after twice falling cheaply to paceman Mitchell Johnson in the series-opening Test in Brisbane.
The England Cricket Board (ECB) blamed a stress-related illness, however the top-order batsmen has since down-played the seriousness of his condition and suggested it was poor form that was behind his departure.
His comments drew the ire of former England captain Michael Vaughan, who last week said he felt he’d been “conned” by believing ECB’s reasoning and accused Trott of using stress as an excuse.
But Waugh, in Kuala Lumpur for the Laureus World Sports Awards, said he fully understood why Trott would feel the need to leave.
“All of a sudden you’re stuck in a hotel room by yourself, watching a TV show you don’t really enjoy and ordering room service you don’t really want and demons start getting in your head,” he said.
“I think every sports person’s been there and when that builds up to a certain point, you’re like `I’ve just got to get out of here’.”
Waugh, who played 168 Tests for Australia, said there were “plenty of times” in his lengthy career when he had similar thoughts running through his mind – especially early on.
“It took me 13 Test matches to be part of a winning side, three and a half years to score my first century, a lot of self doubt and a lot of time away from home.
“I remember at times being in hotels where you had to wait three hours to get a phone call home and then you’re on for 10 seconds and the phone line drops out.
“You’re feeling really home sick and things aren’t going well.
“… But it really wasn’t the way 20 years ago (to say anything or leave) – you just gutsed it out and that was all part of being a professional cricketer.”
With Trott’s future uncertain, Graeme Swann’s retirement and Kevin Pietersen’s controversial dumping, Waugh said that after England’s “embarrassing” fifth Test in Sydney in which the squad showed no fight, captain Alastair Cook needed to “grab the whole team by the scruff of the neck and say `this is the team I want to have, this is the way we’re going to play and this is the culture I want’.
“And they’ve got to stick with it for a while and in 12 months time it may turn around.”
Despite calls for Pietersen to be reinstated, Waugh believes his time is gone.
“I think he had enough strikes – three strikes and you’re out,” Waugh said.
“When you’re the best player in the world you can get away with doing some of the things he did, but he was no longer probably the top 10 batsmen in the world.
“And then he wasn’t really buying into the team ethic-wise or the culture … and he ran out of chances.
“He’ll be on a money-making tour, the Twenty20 stuff and 50 overs.”