(Photo: Getty Images)
By Paul Bolton
Jonathan Trott relished the extra responsibilities of captaincy by leading from the front in his first competitive match in charge of Warwickshire.
Although Trott captained England Lions in South Africa two years ago his only previous experience of leading Warwickshire had been in three matches on a pre-season trip to Barbados during the same winter.
With Ian Bell sidelined by a sore elbow, Warwickshire turned to Trott and the former England batsman responded with two innings of resolve and character on a two-paced pitch.
Trott missed out on a half century in the first innings when he fell for 49, shaping to pull one that stopped on him and offering a return catch. It was even more agonising in the second innings as Trott applied himself superbly before perishing on 99, attempting to pull the boundary that would have taken him to his century.
“It has only taken me 15 years to captain Warwickshire’s first team at Edgbaston. I think they just ran out options,” said Trott, with tongue in cheek.
“It’s been good fun. There are pros and cons. There’s no respite but sometimes you can just focus on your batting, if you have got runs or if you haven’t got runs. As captain your focus shifts to the team and that takes the pressure off a little bit. I quite enjoy that. It takes the pressure off your performance with the bat because as captain you need to worry about everyone else.
“But Belly is club captain and he does a great job. Hopefully his elbow responds to a bit of treatment this week and he’s ready to go for the T20s.”
Trott’s captaincy debut was not without a moment of controversy as umpire Neil Mallender had to speak to him and the entire Warwickshire team when Steve Eskinazi was caught behind for a second innings duck.
Warwickshire thought that they had Eskinazi caught at gully before he had scored in the first innings but instead of bagging a pair he made a career-best 179.
Rikki Clarke made his feelings clear when Eskinazi arrived at the crease in the second innings and more words were exchanged when Keith Barker dismissed him in the next over.
The situation was defused by umpires Graham Lloyd and Mallender who persuaded Nick Compton not to get involved and who then spoke to Trott and his players who had gathered in a huddle to celebrate Eskinazi’s departure.
Trott helped to calm his players but it remains to be seen whether further action will be taken by the umpires or ECB cricket liaison officer Steve Davis, a former Test umpire. “I think the guys got excited. We didn’t have much luck bowling in the first innings. The guys were excited that we got two dismissals to go our way,” Trott said.
Middlesex had the final say, however, on the final afternoon as they eked out a nail-biting one-wicket victory with Tom Helm and Tim Murtagh at the crease.
Result: Warwickshire (334 & 233) lost to Middlesex (334 & 234-9) by 1 wicket