Vaughan fires back at 'attack on my honesty'

23 September 2016

Vaughan says Trott's comments are "wholly wrong and entirely false" // Getty Images

Former England captain responds to claims made by former England batsman Jonathan Trott

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has fired back at retired England batsman Jonathan Trott for what he says is "an attack on my honesty" in Trott's new autobiography.

In an excerpt from Trott's book Unguarded, published in The Times, the 52-Test veteran questions whether Vaughan "had an agenda" when he openly criticised Trott's mid-series exit from the 2013-14 Ashes series in Australia.

Trott, who returned home following the first Test of that series due to a "stress-related illness", came under fire from Vaughan later in 2014, saying he felt "conned" following an extensive interview in which Trott explained the details of his departure from the Ashes tour.

Mitchell Johnson dismissed Trott twice at The Gabba in 2013 // Getty
Mitchell Johnson dismissed Trott twice at The Gabba in 2013 // Getty

In his column for The Telegraph at the time, Vaughan wrote: "We were allowed to believe he was struggling with a serious mental health issue ... but he was struggling for cricketing reasons and not mental, and there is a massive difference".

Trott also came under fire from television personality Piers Morgan, but the England batsman says Vaughan's criticism "was the most damaging" and questioned the former skipper's impartiality.

Trott pointed to Vaughan's relationship with sports management agency ISM, who had some of England's future stars among their clients, as a conflict of interest.

"If I was out of the way – and Vaughan’s scorn for my condition made it quite clear that he thought I should be banished for ever – might there be more room in the side for the likes of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow ... Scott Borthwick and Ben Stokes?" Trott wrote.

"Only Michael Vaughan can tell you for sure whether he was influenced by that relationship.

"But it shocked me that the BBC and the Telegraph continued to use him as an analyst despite the possibility of the perception of a conflict of interest.

"Surely there should have been a disclaimer at the end of every article he wrote or every show on which he appeared letting the public know the context of his views?

"Anyway, at the time, it felt as if Vaughan was trying to crush me when I was down."

Trott also had this to say about Vaughan's appearance since he retired from international cricket in 2008.

"Michael Vaughan and I both batted at No 3 for England with reasonable success but it is almost the only thing we have in common," he said.

"I have a bald head and chipped teeth; he has new hair and suddenly has brilliant white teeth. I think that’s a pretty reasonable reflection of our differing characters."

In a statement on Twitter, Vaughan said his legal team had engaged The Times following their publication of the book excerpt.

Trott played his final Test in May last year // Getty Images
Trott played his final Test in May last year // Getty Images

"At the time of writing that article, I held no role with ISM other than being a client of ISM," Vaughan said.

"It is wholly wrong and entirely false to suggest that any comments I have made concerning professional cricketers are anything other than my genuinely held, honest opinions.

"Criticism of my opinions, my actions and even personal criticisms are all fair game, but I will not accept any attack on my honesty or my integrity.

"Nor will I accept accusations that I set out to positively damage the career of any professional.

"My solicitors have today written to the Times concerning the inaccuracy of the article."

Trott also criticised Morgan's attacks on him, saying the media pundit's comments were damaging to the public perception of mental illness.

"He said something along the lines of me quitting the Ashes tour because I couldn’t handle the pace of Mitchell Johnson and spoke with remarkable authority when he stated I ‘wasn’t depressed or mentally ill’," Trott wrote.

"I don’t know Piers at all – and vice versa, of course – and I’m reasonably sure we’ve never met.

" ... To come to those conclusions at a distance and then have the certainty to broadcast them as if they were informed and factual seemed fairly extraordinary to me. And, at the time, it really wasn’t very helpful.

" ... By doing so, he perpetuated the lazy generalisation that these stress-related conditions are just a sign of weakness.

"While probably not realising it, he made it harder for other people – be they in entertainment, or law, or nursing or teaching – to open up and discuss their problems as they risked being dismissed in the same way I was."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith

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