Former England cricketer Jonathan Trott flew home early from the Ashes Series in Australia in 2014 after experiencing symptoms of anxiety and described feelings of "dread" he had suffered ahead of his international playing return.
Trott's issues came to a head in Australia - a place where he had scored 445 runs and two centuries during England's Ashes triumph in 2010-11 - when he flew home after the first Test in Brisbane.
Trott attempted to return to cricket with county side Warwickshire too soon, in his own words, and only began the road to recovery after linking up with renowned sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters, who had previously worked with the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.
The former England No.3 is now an ambassador for the Professional Cricketers’ Association, playing for the PCA-organised England Legends and helping to spread the word about the work, assistance and guidance the Professional Cricketers’ Trust is providing to current and former players.
“I think there are so many examples of players who either during their careers or after their careers need support and that is what the Trust does and it’s brilliant,” said Trott, speaking ahead of the Professional Cricketers’ Trust taking centre stage at the Vitality Blast Finals Day. The biggest day in the county calendar will see awareness and funds raised for the charity which provides vital support for players and their immediate families when they are in desperate need.
“There are so many stories where if it were not for the Trust, players would have really struggled, it is not just with ill health, it is with losses that players go through, such as family bereavements.
“Nothing is too big or too small, everything is looked after for its members and the Trust is very caring and something that I think cricket, certainly through the PCA, has led the way for all other sports and professional associations.
“It leads the way in what it provides for players during their careers and services after their careers.
“Everyone has their own sort of things and their own ideas on how they go about their business, everyone is unique and that is the great thing about team sports.
“It is about those people coming together and performing.
“Everyone has their own way, they see themselves as a player I suppose, and certainly in this day and age there’s a lot more awareness of people, not just the cricketer but also the human side of things which is fantastic and what the Trust stands for.”
Trott will be watching on this weekend at the Vitality Blast Finals Day, where the tournament will officially support the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for a third year in succession.
The Trust will collaborate with the ECB and Sky Sports to both highlight the work of, and raise funds for, the players’ charity at Finals Day.
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust is a registered charity created to support the life-long health and wellbeing of PCA members and their immediate family.
Today’s game is faster, more competitive, more public, and more pressurised than ever before. Even the happiest professional career in cricket means long stretches away from home and financial uncertainty driven by short-term contracts.
Few careers carry so much uncertainty as that of a professional cricketer but thanks to the Professional Cricketers' Trust, past and present players have a vital support network which helps them to prepare for and readjust in the world beyond cricket.
Whether you play for a men’s team or women’s team, for a week or a decade, every professional cricketer in England and Wales is a life-long member of the PCA; and that means they can count on the Professional Cricketers’ Trust for support.
But it is the international game that has caught Trott’s attention in recent weeks, with the performances and wins for Ben Stokes’ side catching his imagination.
“It is brilliant, if you’d said they’d beat New Zealand 3-0 and they’d beat India the way that they have – you would have laughed.
“Not just the way that they’ve won the games but the way that they’ve played, by the margins that they’ve won, and, in the fashion, they have won is outstanding and brilliant.
“It just goes to show with regards to cricket, sport, and life a lot of it is to do with the metal side but also getting the best out of players into a place where they can perform.
“Certainly, for me going into coaching now, having coached various levels at the backend of my career and at the beginning a little as well, there’s different methods to everything.
“So, it’s a great example of getting the best out of players in such a quick fashion as well so it’s almost rewriting the blueprint as well for Test cricket, certainly for the England side. And who knows hopefully they can continue this.
“I think we are seeing now players come into the England side who have grown up playing T20. I grew up in an era where you are taught differently.
“So, you were taught to defend first and attack second when you got yourself in, nowadays attack is the best form of defence, but you’ve got to find the right balance.
“I would have loved to have played in this side and if there was a position to bat, I would have batted anywhere and it sure would have been exciting.”
The Professional Cricketers’ Trust provides vital support to past and present cricketers in England and Wales and their immediate families when in desperate need. The charity’s work is all encompassing, whether it be for unforeseen physical or mental needs. Vitality Blast Finals Day is supporting the players’ charity - to find out more about the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, visit professionalcricketerstrust.org