Graham Thorpe has been the lynchpin of the England team and at the vanguard of world cricket for more than a decade. Yet the national press hounded him as 'English cricket's most disturbed player': in 1999 he returned home from the Caribbean weeks before his team-mates; a year later he declined to tour South Africa in order to spend more time with his young family; and in 2001 he returned early from India in a vain attempt to salvage an already ruined marriage, four years after his own infidelities while on tour in New Zealand made tabloid headlines. The following summer his ex-wife was on the verge of emigrating to South Africa with his two children, and Thorpe was accused of 'betraying' England when he announced he was quitting Test cricket, only to change his mind a fortnight later.
With painful candour and often unexpected humour, Thorpe dissects his career in cricket and the inner recesses of his private life: the impact of his bitter divorce; the suicidal depression that afflicted him in his darkest hours; the reasons why he needed to 'save himself' by withdrawing from past England tours; the elation of his magnificent century on his comeback Test at the Oval in 2003; and his fresh outlook in life with a new partner after confronting his own failings and past troubles. Twelve years on from his Test debut against Australia, Thorpe took the decision to retire from international cricket after the disappointment of his controversial non-selection for the Ashes 2005 tour.
Hero or villain? Thorpe's life story will go some way toward resolving one of the biggest conundrums in English cricket in recent times.