In 2009 English cricket was at rock bottom. Coach and Captain were sacked and the indignity of being bowled out for 51 in the West Indies had stung deeply. By 2011 the England side under new leadership was the best in the world claiming the number 1 Test ranking and filled with world class players. In 2013 it all imploded ending careers. This documentary is a behind the scenes, candid charter of the rise and fall of English cricket and the mental stresses sportsman are put under to be the best.
Non cricket fans might ask why this documentary might be for them and my response is that the subject matter is mental health in a high pressure environment. What footage there is of the actual game is small and fully explained for the non fan. The focus is that of the coaching methods and the impact they had both good and bad.
As a hardcore cricket fan who watched these games and took part in the rollercoaster that sporting fans often take part in there was new information and genuine care taken in interviewing the players and staff. It’s actually surprising how open some of the players are and whilst some information may only ever stay in that group of players it feels like we get to see behind the curtain. The manner in which the film matches Jonathan Trott’s rise and fall with England’s and juxtaposes his final game with Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook is heartbreaking. I genuinely felt anguish for what happened to the likes of Jonathan Trott, Stephen Finn and Monty Panesar who suffered mental health breakdowns as part of their involvement.
This is a fascinating documentary that is a must watch for cricket fans but one that will also entertain sports fans or those interested in mental health in elite sport. It left me wanting to hear so much more.