Michael Bates lifts the lid on his Hampshire career in new book 'Keeping Up'
Michael Bates has lifted the lid on the highs and lows of his Hampshire career in a new book.
The former Ageas Bowl wicketkeeper has released ‘Keeping Up’ which tackles the modern role of glovemen and charts his own professional journey from one-day triumphs in 2010 to his retirement in 2015.
While Bates had quickly made a name for himself as one of the country’s top men behind the stumps, a lack of impact with the bat prompted his release from Hampshire in 2014.
Averaging just 19.94 in first-class cricket, the Frimley-born talent was also unable to find a home at Somerset the following season.
Now an highly-regarded coach, Bates has helped England Women to World Cup glory as well as working with his former county and Western Storm.
And although the 28-year-old appreciates the batting pressures in the modern game, he remains an advocate of the need for high-quality keepers.
The 28-year-old said: ‘You can’t escape not batting now.
‘There has been a shift in mindset towards keepers.
‘Whether it goes a full circle and one day teams will seek a specialist keeper, who knows?
‘Kids growing up are very aware keepers are now predominantly batters.
‘I guess it is my job as a coach to make sure their keeping is still up to scratch.
‘But the keeping part is still so important.
‘They shouldn’t just be sitting behind the stumps, catching the ball and giving it back to the bowler.
‘I would encourage every keeper I work with to make sure they are there to make a difference to the game.
‘That is an attitude thing and you have to believe you can do that.’
While writing his book, Bates interviewed England age group contemporaries Jos Buttler and Joe Root, Sam Billings and Australian legend Adam Gilchrist to get a full understanding of the current state of the art of keeping.
He admitted England Test captain Root was frustrated Bates is not still playing first-class cricket.
Meanwhile, World Cup-winner Buttler explained how he was the benchmark for keepers growing up.
Bates admitted those views were difficult to hear but he believes the book has helped him come to terms with not playing.
He added: ‘We did those interviews a while ago when me not playing was still new and raw.
‘Hearing those words was like a double-edged sword – the complimentary words were great but I was gutted I wasn’t still playing.
‘It made the process difficult initially.
‘I was sitting down and reliving the experiences I had as a player and I would leave those meetings longing for those same experiences.
‘But now my career in coaching is going well and the book has helped in moving on. I can draw a line under my playing career.
‘I was probably born in the wrong generation. I would have loved to have a little bit more opportunity and time at Hampshire to develop the other side of my game but decisions were made and you have to move on and live with them.’
Keeping Up is available exclusively from Amazon.