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Nicholls, Barry – Second Innings

Softback, just in



Second Innings, On men, mental health and cricket, Barry Nicholls (Fremantle Press, softback)

Cricket has been a bedrock of Barry Nicholls’ life journey.
‘Cricket always keeps you in check,’ he says in Second Innings, his evocative second memoir, following You only get one innings, family, mates and the wisdom of cricket (published in 2013)
‘Cricket makes sure you don’t get ahead of yourself. Worry is at the heart of the game and many of those who play it.
‘I have an anxiety that can change gears rapidly from zero to 100 in a few seconds. It also makes me vigilant. To be the best I can be. Some days it turns against me. Today is one of those days. Like a spell has been cast.’
Nicholls, a prominent and expert ABC radio presenter in Western Australia, addresses the complicated issue of men’s health and his own demons, seamlessly weaving in cricket and its importance to well-being.
‘I want my old life back again,’ he says. ‘The one where I don’t overthink and just get on with things.’
This father-of-four’s love of cricket is an ever-flowing constant in Second Innings. ‘Life is like facing an opening bowler,’ he says. ‘The pitch is unknown, the ball is new and you don’t know what will be delivered…
‘Some days I feel like I don’t deserve to be on this earth.’
Six men suicide every day in Australia. One of my good mates took his own life this winter, during one of Melbourne’s multi-lockdowns. He was talented, handsome and arresting – and, unbeknown to most of us, desperately lonely.
Nicholls says learning to live with depression and discussing it with your loved ones and doctors is a key to the normality he craves.
He says he shares one thing in common with the greatest cricketer of all, Sir Donald Bradman. ‘We both represented Kensington,’ he says with a smile.
I read the first pages and was still reading it hours later. It’s that sort of book. – KP

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