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“It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in really, when you probably know you’re not batting as well as you’d like, and you know what the opposition are going to do to you and you don’t really have a way out of it”
Legendary Australia batsman Michael Hussey has offered his support and best wishes to England batsman Jonathan Trott after he pulled out of the Ashes with a stress-related illness.
Hussey noted that he “can’t even begin to empathise with what Jonathan Trott is going through”, but hopes that he makes a full and speedy recovery.
During the recently concluded first Ashes Test, Trott constantly struggled to mount any sort of offensive when facing left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson.
Hussey found himself in a similar scenario in 2009 when South Africa seamer Dale Steyn kept dismissing him, which led to him losing his composure and sledging Steyn in an attempt to cover up his struggles.
“It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in really, when you probably know you’re not batting as well as you’d like, and you know what the opposition are going to do to you and you don’t really have a way out of it,” Hussey told ESPNcricinfo. “You can go one of two ways, either go into survival mode, which is pretty dangerous as well and you’re probably going to wear a few, or you can take it on and there’s risk involved in that.
“If you can get away it puts a bit of doubt back into the bowler’s mind, but Michael Clarke had really good fields set that made it difficult to get away as well. It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in, especially if you’re mentally not in the best shape you possibly can be, you’re probably not thinking as clearly as you’d like, so it’s a horrible place to be.”
Hussey added that spending a majority of the year away from the family was a sacrifice almost all international cricketers have to make.
“Most definitely the time away from home is very challenging, and you do get lonely,” Hussey said. “Your teammates are there, but you still go back to your room at the end of the day’s play and certainly if you’re not playing well or the team’s not winning you do get a bit down. I can’t even begin to empathise with what Jonathan Trott is going through, but if things aren’t going well you can get a bit lonely, a bit depressed, and a bit negative.”
According to Hussey, a long stretch of defeats or poor performances can be a trigger for stress as a cricketer feels that it is almost impossible to break out of the rut he is in.
Hussey recalled how some of the darkest moments of his career came during the 2010-11 Ashes series, where he was contributing with the bat, but Australia ended up suffering three innings defeats.
“We were getting absolutely belted by England,” he said. “You’re physically and mentally exhausted, we were in the field for 150-160 overs, you’re still not at home in your own bed, and that was as close as I came to feeling depressed. You felt like you were letting down the whole country in an Ashes series. They were pretty demoralising losses, so that was probably the worst I ever felt – it was a home series but more the performance of the team was so depressing it really gets you down.”
Hussey added that Trott made the right decision to return home as he believes a cricketer’s wellbeing should always come first.
“I certainly battled with myself mentally, but I didn’t have an illness,” he said. “So it’s got to be 100 times worse if you’ve got an illness.
“That’s why it’s the right decision for him to get away from it all, get home, get diagnosed correctly and get the proper treatment. It is just a game of cricket, I know they’re very important games of cricket and it’s the Ashes and all that sort of stuff, but surely your health is a lot more important than any cricket match.”