Taylor Calls Time!

England Women’s wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor has retired from international cricket due to her ongoing management of anxiety.

http://m.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/249935.html

To say that Taylor raised the bar for Women’s cricket and particularly wicketkeeping in general, regardless of gender, would be an understatement of epic proportions…

Hopefully Taylor will continue to play, enjoy and succeed at domestic level at the same time as inspiring the next generation of cricketers, male or female!

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/

Graeme Fowler: Absolutely Foxed Book Review

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I never saw Graeme Fowler play cricket. He was just a little before my time but I knew the name and had heard a little about his contributions to the game and his life, so I picked up a copy of his book with my bookshop gift card that I received for Christmas.

The book focuses on three main things, they are Fowler’s playing days, his work with the University based Centres of Excellence and his mental health.

Fowler comes across as a person who backs his own opinion, a man you wouldn’t want to argue with. At the same time he’s brave enough to be incredibly open about his depression. Like any autobiography, you would hope that the protagonist would avoid ironing out the bad and only offering the good. Fowler does that.

The Lancashire native touches upon the suggestion that some have put forward, that he was fortunate to play for England when others were out of the picture for one reason or another. To that, I say “It’s not about how you get your opportunities but about what you do with them”. However fortunate he was to get the opportunity at the highest level, Fowler scored in excess of one thousand Test runs and recorded three centuries in the process. There are a lot of players who have had the chance and not grabbed it to the extent that he did. Yes there are those that have done even better but to average 35.32 in Test cricket is no disgrace.

As with the examples of other former cricketers such as Marcus Trescothick, Michael Yardy and Jonathan Trott, providing exposure to the mental health issues of international sportsmen, Fowler’s contribution can only help further people’s understanding of mental health, whether it be their own or somebody else’s.

I’ve detailed on my blog before how I think that universities could help breed competitive cricket in England, in the same way that college sport provides budding professionals in USA. Fowler has helped develop cricketers for England through the Centres of Excellence and clearly possesed an indisputable passion for his efforts.

I’m providing Graeme Fowler’s ‘Absolutely Foxed’ with an innings of:

82 not out

Jonathan Trott: Unguarded, My Autobiography Book Review

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I know what you’re thinking…

This book was released a few weeks ago so why is Silly Point only reviewing it now?

Well as much as I’d like to ‘big-up’ my blog, I’m not yet at a stage where publishers are sending me copies of cricket related books pre-release. The South American rainforest were originally charging £15.99 so I waited a week or two ‘til the price dropped to a more like my batting average £7.99!

If I were only allowed a single word to sum up Jonathan Trott’s autobiography it would be ‘honest’. Unless of course he’s not being in which case he fooled me. This is my blog though so I’m not only allowed one word, I’m allowed a century of words or even a Len Huttonesque 364 words if I like.

If you’re expecting some lighthearted memoir about playing bat ‘n’ ball you won’t get it here. Trott’s mental health is a constant in this book and he deserves credit for being brave enough to put it all out there. Many members of the general public may think that professional sportsmen and women have it easy and that to work a shift alongside them in the docks, at the station or on the line would teach them a thing or two about hard work. Most employees get to return home at the end of every day though. That’s not the case for cricketers. Even when playing at home players can be away for a week at a time and when on tour they can be away for months on end. On top of that every action, every decision and every learning curve is seen, analysed and reviewed in the public domain. By the time Trott’s international career came to an end all this was on his mind too much for him to be the run machine that he had been when immersed in what he refers to as his ‘bubble’. He makes valid points about the seemingly premature end to the international careers of Graeme Swann, Matt Prior and of course himself. He also makes some not so subtle hints to the England management about the necessity for ‘proper’ warm-up matches before Test Match series. Advice that Silly Point thinks the ECB would do well to heed.

As you read Unguarded you gain a sense of how competitive the author is. Of course you’d expect a professional sportsman to be competitive. Trott clearly believes that he and Kevin Pietersen benefited from their tough schooling in South Africa rather than having played sport at a young age in England.

The book isn’t exactly in chronological order and the likes of Alastair Cook, Andy Flower, Ashley Giles, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Trott’s wife Abi all had plenty of homework to do as their written contributions regularly complement Trott’s writing. If anything there is a little too much of this early on which hinders the reader from finding fluency.

It just occurred to me as I’m writing this, in the words of New Radicals, “I hope I didn’t just give away the ending”. Presumably if you’ve picked up this book you have a reasonable idea of how Trott’s career played out and this read provides a brave, honest and passionate insight into the mind of a man that churned out 6792 international runs across all formats for England. It’s great to see him piling on the runs for Warwickshire again at domestic level. We don’t do 5 stars or marks out of ten ratings here at Silly Point. We have a far more complex scoring system.

Jonathan Trott: Unguarded scores…

82 not out