My Daughter often asks me who my favourite cricketer is and it’s a question I often struggle with, but one name that often comes to mind is Jonathan Trott. Trott’s grittiness and application have always appealed to me, his stubborn resoluteness and sheer determination to score runs when those around him fell always endeared him to me as well.
So it was great delight when I received his autobiography Unguarded for Christmas.
Trott’s career coincided with the rise of the England Cricket Test Team to world number one, and then the fall back down rankings as the side disintegrated around themselves.
Helped by the always brilliant George Dobell, Trott is as open and honest in print as he was on the pitch charting his and the side’s rise and fall and the factors that effected both.
Clearly what a lot of people will remember, and want to know, about Trott is what happened in Brisbane in 2013 where he had to leave the ashes tour early due to health issues. He does not shy away from this part of his life, but Unguarded is about so much more than Brisbane 2013, as Trott himself says “What happened in 2013 is part of my story – an important part – but it’s not the whole story. I hope people remember the other parts.”
His book goes a long way to help people remember things about Jonathan Trott beyond that part of his life.
That said, Trott still talks candidly about his situationally based anxiety, which effected him throughout his career and ultimately ended his England career after 52 Test Caps. He talks about how proud he is of what he achieved, and is still achieving, with Warwickshire; what he regrets and what he would do differently if he had his time again.
His openness and honesty when talking about these areas of his life and career was no surprise to me. It was exactly how he was on the pitch: an open and honest player, nothing flash or pretentious. Even the book’s cover reflects this: it’s just his face, nothing more nothing less.
What adds something special to this book, and sets it apart from other autobiographies, is not just Trotts’s own words but the extra pieces inserted by people who know, played with and coached him throughout his career. These include Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss, Ashley Giles, Andy Flower and the person who Trott admits knows him better than himself: his wife, Abi.
These extra interview pieces shine a light from the outside on the dark places that Trott went to during his career, and add depth and detail to the stories that Trott himself shares.
Of all the stories Trott tells, and the comments he made in the book, the one which has stuck with me the most is this one: “And cricket…, What a bloody great game it is!”
The fact that after everything Trott has been through, everything he fought for and against to get to where he did, hasn’t soured him against the game of cricket is the most heart warming moment of the book for me.
Unguarded is one of the best cricket books I have read in the last year, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Whether Trott is one of your favourite players, like me, or if like my daughter your favourite player is someone a bit more flashy (Steven Finn by the way), or if you are just interested in cricket.
This is a must read for all cricket fans, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Unguarded – Jonathan Trott
Published by Sphere, September 2016
Available now at Amazon