Coming Back To Me
Author: Marcus Trescothick
Publisher: Harper Sport
Rating: 4 stars
By Martin Chandler
09 Mar 2009
In England at least Trescothick's autobiography was, on publication in September 2008, one of the most eagerly awaited cricket books for years. Ever since Trescothick broke down in India in 2005 and had to return home early from that tour there had been huge media interest in what exactly went wrong and that interest was only heightened by the deliberate mis-information that was made public at the time and the inevitable speculation that that led to.
It was always going to be the case that only upon Trescothick finally going into print would we be able to establish exactly what happened and why and three years later this is the result. The book won the William Hill Sports Book of 2008 Award, no doubt because of the honesty and openness with which Trescothick treats his breakdown. The strength and clarity of the writing arises out of the fact that Trescothick has clearly, unlike some sportsmen who lend their names to autobiographies, spent many hours with his 'ghost', and between them they have come up with a remarkably straightforward account of a serious mental illness. The book vividly illustrates those drawbacks to a life in professional sport which would never normally merit consideration for those of us who can only dream about such a career.
It is, however, striking that despite the openness with which Trescothick approaches his own problems that his opinions on others are something that he largely keeps to himself. He has positive things to say about some fellow players and administrators and there is the occasional insight into the dressing room and tactics but there is absolutely nothing in this book that would have warranted even a second glance from the publisher's, or indeed anyone else's, legal advisers.
It would be surprising if, throughout his troubles, there weren't, from the many with whom or for whom he had played, some who Trescothick felt worthy of criticism on the basis of what they had said or done however there is no evidence of it here - even those members of the gutter press who hounded Trescothick and his family and friends, for salacious gossip, following his emotional departure from India receive only a mild rebuke. My own hope is that the reason for that is that despite the many protestations in this book to the contrary that Trescothick does not regard his international career as over and that he has no wish to burn any bridges although I fear the reason may be that he is such a genuinely decent bloke that he simply doesn't want to get involved in mud slinging.
Mental health issues are not rare amongst cricketers as is evidenced by the number of players who have at some point taken their own lives but it is rare to have a first hand account. Trescothick's is a well written and thought provoking book and is highly recommended.