Mike Atherton is the most articulate and perceptive captain of English cricket since Mike Brearley. He was also one of the most determined batsmen of the nineties, and as an opener, a vital component of the England team. Atherton has played professional cricket for Lancashire and England for 15 years, despite a serious back complaint. He represented England in 115 Test matches and captained his country on a record 54 occasions. His recovery from a difficult situation in 1995 (when he was accused of ball tampering during the first Test match against South Africa at Lord's) proved a tough hurdle, yet one that would strengthen his resolve. His autobiography contains many serious observations about world cricket, as well as humorous asides and perceptive insights into the game. A born writer, this is Atherton in his own words.
Publisher and industry reviews
All an autobiography should be ... as an inspiration and blueprint to young men with ambition in sport it is exemplary. -- Michael Parkinson, Telegraph Mike Atherton signalled that Opening Up would be his own work - and it shows. It's solid, structured, phlegmatic, intelligent and gently humorous - like his batting and, one gleans, like the personality he for so long sheilded from the media. -- Andrew Sheilds - Time Out Outstanding. His ghost-free memoir is beautifully written, filled with considered argument, modest judgement of his own career, excellent observational anecdote and great humour. A brilliant book. -- Kate Battersby - Evening Standard Opening Up reveals what his inscrutable face and deadpan accent have concealed all these years. Generosity, compassion, honesty, modesty, versatility... Opening Up is the most important book to emerge from the Engalnd camp since Mike Brearley's The Art of Captaincy. Its also the first by an England captain since Brearley that wasn't ghosted. -- Simon Hughes - Daily Telegraph 20020831 As considered and thoughtful as the man himself, it affords the reader a wealth of insights into the modern game. -- The Independent 20021202 His cricketing memoir is a triumph of clear thinking, honest assessment and beautifully straightforward prose. It is rare enough for a sportsman to write his own account; rarer still for one to lay bare his own inadequacies with such objectivity. -- The Sunday Times 20021124 The book is outstanding. I commend this not only to avid cricket fans but to men and women who feel socially rejected. -- Ian Wooldridge - Daily Mail 20020914 Atherton has produced the best book by an England captain since Mike Brearley was redefining the role more than twenty years ago, and it was deservedly shortlisted for thr William Hill Sports Book of the Year. -- Independent on Sunday 20021208 [Opening Up] is a meeting with a most intriguing man: dogged decency, bloody-mindedness and a hefty taste for responsibility. -- The Times 20021207
UK Kirkus review
A sportsman with a sense of perspective is a rare thing indeed. Michael Atherton, opening batsman for England for over 100 test matches and captain of his country for over half of them, is one such. His autobiography, like his batting style, is limited but effective. While he quotes C L R James- 'what do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?' - it is only his cricket of which he writes. Atherton's own hinterland is brushed past. A shame, since what do we know of the cricketer, if only his cricket we know? Atherton's natural modesty leads him to the conclusion that we only care about him because of his cricket career, so that is all he troubles us with. And that same modest sense of perspective enables him to be engagingly honest about his abilities and those of his opponents and fellow players. Thus his own batting is ruthlessly assessed as good but not great (although he downplays the reliance his England team had on him). His captaincy is analysed as having made very little difference to the English game, as a result of his own failings and those of the system he worked in. And his playing colleagues are treated with the same cold eye. Some (Steve Waugh, say) match up, and some are downright odd (Phil Tufnell, naturally). There are a few rosy moments, an occasional test win against the Aussies here and there, the odd series victory against New Zealand or India, and the battles within those matches are candidly dealt with - the classic confrontation with Alan Donald, or the numerous failings of Glenn McGrath. Athers is a man who knows exactly his place in the cricketing firmament (around 11th) and has clearly come to terms with the joys and disappointments that got him there. His judgements on the game have been forged in the fiercest arena and are all the more worthwhile for that, but anyone looking for Dickie Bird-style anecdotage is best looking elsewhere. This is a fine serious book which raises as many questions about the game of cricket as it answers about Atherton the cricketer. Atherton the man is for another time. (Kirkus UK)
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