It may seem strange that a Wokingham Cricket Club player should be publishing his life story at the age of 28, writes Dave Wright.

Yes, he does his job consistently well in the Home Counties Premier League game after game although neither he nor his club have exactly set the game alight.

They are certainly not headline makers.

But playing for the Oaks makes up only a small part of the cricketing life of Michael Bates.

He is generally regarded as one of the most accomplished wicket keepers in club cricket in the entire country, with many believing he should still be playing for a first-class county.

Those days, however, now look over, as instead, he is making a big reputation for himself as a top coach.

He currently works with the wicketkeepers at the Hampshire and Sussex county clubs, as well as with England Women.

The former Yateley schoolboy did enjoy a shortish career at a high level, playing for England Under-19s and for Hampshire in 2010-14, helping them win two limited-overs trophies. In 2015 he also played for Somerset alongside the likes of Marcus Trescothick.

He said: “I have fabulous memories of playing cricket; trophy-winning moments, the likes of which most players can only dream of.

“Winning at Lord’s with that final-ball dismissal - I’ll never forget that moment.”

So, yes, Bates has a story to tell - and a good story at that.

And that has just seen the publication of Keeping Up, a soft-cover book, which he wrote along with Tom Huelin, a Southampton-based freelance writer and author.

That memorable moment at Lord’s he writes about merits its own chapter.

It came in the one-day final when, with Warwickshire needing one run to win, Bates, standing up to the nippy bowler Kabir Ali, whipped off the bails to dismiss Neil Carter and so clinch victory for Hampshire.

He was a hero on the day, but it did not mean him going on to achieve even greater glories.

Hampshire had doubts over his batting.

“Ok, my batting still had a way to go but it was getting there. It was a work in progress” he recalls - and they decided to sign another wicketkeeper, Adam Wheater from Essex.

Yet, the first Bates heard about the news was when an anonymous letter arrived at his parents’ house in Yateley.

To this day, he still doesn’t know he sent it.

And Hampshire’s decision to replace him as No. 1 keeper left him “numb, bitter and frustrated.”

Following his departure from Southampton, he started pulling pints in a Yateley pub, but it was not long before the was back playing cricket with Wiltshire in minor county games and also for Oxford CC.

He also returned to the first-class game with Somerset, but only for a season. Like at Hampshire, there was no offer of an extended contract.

His playing career was over at the age of 24.

But he didn’t turn his back on the game and was encouraged to go into coaching by Nick Denning, the former Berkshire and Finchampstead pace bowler, and a new chapter in his life was about to start.

Bates quickly built up a very good reputation for himself as a wicket-keeper coach and his book is full of expert advice with one chapter headed A wicketkeeping masterclass.

“I’m really delighted with how my coaching skills are developing,” he writes.

“I feel like have a natural flair for it, I can relate to the players because I’ve been where they are.

“I’ve struggled as a player and have learned from the difficulties I went through at Hampshire and Somerset.

“Now, I am looking forward to teaching my methods and beliefs about the game I love to all the talented keepers coming through the ranks across the country.”

The book also includes contributions from Adam Gilchrist, Jos Butler and Joe Root.

Keeping Up - Michael Bates: The story of a specialist wicketkeeper is independently published and is available from Wokingham Cricket Club and Amazon.