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Opening Up: My Autobiography Audio CD – Audiobook, 7 Aug 2003
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Captain of the national side at 25, and one of the most successful top-flight opening batsmen in the game, the bare facts of Mike Atherton's career portray him as one of the golden boys of English cricket, but in Opening Up he reflects on a sporting life equally characterised by his struggle to match lofty expectations, and the off-field politicking that tested his resourcefulness to the limit.
From his early days as a university-educated upstart marching into a Lancashire first-team dressing room filled with seasoned pros, to the constant wrangling behind the scenes of the English game, and a rarely harmonious relationship with the press, Atherton has found himself engaged in a constant battle to retain focus on events out in the middle. Even when there, things were far from plain sailing, and he recounts it all with admirable candour, epitomised by the story of his Test debut, where the fresh-faced youngster was given a lesson in professional reality by a senior team-mate: "You play your first [Test] for love, and the rest for money". Elsewhere, amid the analysis of his time at the helm of an often struggling England side, Atherton highlights a career-long battle with injury and pain suppression, which resulted in what would have been seen in other eras as a very early retirement. At the centre of the book is the infamous ball-tampering row in 1994. Illustrated with extracts from Atherton's diary of the time, the man at the centre of the huge media storm makes a concerted defence of what many argued was behaviour unworthy of any cricketer, let alone a national captain.
There can be little debate however that Atherton, a broadsheet columnist, can write. His characterisations are deftly drawn, particularly of key figures such as Illingworth, Gooch and Boycott, and there is plenty of pithy humour, some earthy language and an eye for what makes good gossip, to counterbalance what is at heart a refreshingly serious and thoughtful book. Too often sports autobiographies leave readers wishing that a more subtle, expressive and observant author was reporting from the arena--not in this case. Atherton resists the temptation to manufacture controversy, but comments on his own, and other's achievements, with a laudable sense of perspective. An enjoyable, skillfully worked "knock" from a tenacious and talented cricketer. --Alex Hankin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Outstanding...astonishing. You warm to an England captain who can evaluate himself with such clarity.' - Daily MailSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Atherton was captain during the dodgy nineties, when England suffered a long spell in the doldrums of international cricket. His autobiography highlights Atherton's relationship with the selectors - notably Ray Illingworth; his teammates - there is one glorious photograph of Nasser Hussain as a fifteen year old with fantastic hair!; and gives a detailed insight into how it felt to be thrust at the helm without a great deal of experience. Atherton describes his input into team selection (or lack of it), the infamous ball-tampering affair, and his tremendous innings against Allan Donald, where he knew he was out, but did not walk. This incident is described so precisely, that the atmosphere is almost palpable.
If you are expecting an expletive filled, ghost written tome, you will be disappointed. These are Atherton's thoughts, eloquently penned entirely by the man himself. If you want juicy personal stories about sexual conquests, don't buy it. He is very reticent about his private life, and doesn't even mention his new baby.
This is a book for die hard cricket fans, and for lovers of sport in general, who want to see behind the scenes; to feel what it was like to be at the centre of English cricket. I would also recommend it to those with a fledgling interest in the game, as the passionate accounts of matches give such a true feeling of what is must have felt like to stand at the crease, under the scrutiny of thousands of spectators.
He explores many aspects of his time as England captain, his sometimes stormy relationship with selectors (especially Ray Illingworth), players as well as various memorable matches. Yet even when critical, there us no sense of "settling scores". He is quite prepared to point out his own failings or differing viewpoints.
Atherton emerges as intelligent, thoughtful and articulate with a sense of humour. He draws a fascinating picture of the English Test scene in the 1990's. There are also fascinating insights into the psychology of the modern game, problems of coping with celebrity and the various personalities in the game. As well as a fascinating picture of his own personal development over the time which is illuminating in its own right.
Fascinating for cricket lovers and for anyone interested in what makes sportsman. This may have longer shelf life than most sport books.
You will find extracts from Mike Atherton’s diary when he considers the dirt in the pocket affair, though this is a very clever spin on a matter that has not been satisfactorily resolved in my mind at least, I felt much is held back. For that matter there are a number of sections where I felt that things were being held back, which is a shame, but maybe Mike Atherton feels that he does not want to upset people in cricket. In an age where England cricket has central contracts, an outstanding coach in Duncan Fletcher and coaching facilities that rival any other cricketing nation, it is interesting to note that Mike Atherton recommended many of the measures that England now enjoy. Indeed Mike Atherton makes it clear that the only thing not accepted during his time were central contracts, but he did recommend them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Atherton had the misfortune in some respects to play for England during a fairly pedestrian and at times frustratingly awful times. Read morePublished 11 months ago by seanjm
As a rule, autobiographies by players still active or just retired are worth avoiding as they seem to be written to justify every decision made while allocating blame for mistakes... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mogodon
Bought this for my mates birthday. Initially I bought this elsewhere, only to be firstly sent a cassette of the book, and then told (after a month of waiting) they didn't have it... Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2013 by Daniel O'Brien
Loved it. really insightful book on the trials and tribulations of captaining England. Found it honest and self-aware. Very enjoyablePublished on 1 July 2013 by Jamie T
Atherton brings out his interactions, learnings and experiences in international cricket with a frankness that is rare. Read morePublished on 9 Jun. 2013 by Amazon Customer
He has been one of my favourite sports writers for a long time, and this book has backed up my view. Read morePublished on 27 Feb. 2012 by Jacknith
I like Mike Atherton, I think he's a great writer and commentator but I found this book a little soulless and 'dry'. Read morePublished on 26 Aug. 2011 by M. Williams
Mike Atherton was a very good Captain who did not benefit from Strauss's position of having alot of great players to work with. Interesting read from a very likeable fella.Published on 11 Jan. 2011 by C Bourne
A terrific book by a man who took on so many great fast and spinner bowlers of an era where not many batsmen succeded. Read morePublished on 20 Nov. 2009 by A. Mceachern