Shane Keith Warne is a maverick and has strode on the cricket field like a giant and leaving an indelible mark with his leg- spin magic wherever he played in his long glorious International career. Here is a tell all book, Shane Warne gets brutally candid and opens up like never before in his autobiography – No Spin with Mark Nicholas.
The Warne persona needs no introduction if one is avid cricket follower and one who had followed Australian cricket from –up close. But everytime, Warne speaks he has something new to offer . Anecdotes which forces to know more about the man. And why not ? As he is the leg- spinner who had rewrote the record books. One of Wisden’s five cricketers of the twentieth century. A sporting idol across the globe and yes a magnet for the tabloids who love chasing him for his off- the field escapades. But the million of words written about Shane Warne have only scratched the surface. The real story has remained untold.
In No Spin, this secrecy is set to unravel. As Warne sets the record straight . From his humble roots and his time learning the craft in the English club and league cricket to the legendary ‘Ball of the century’ to Mike Gatting in the 1993 Ashes series, and from his rivalries with legends like Sachin Tendulkar , Andrew Flintoff right the way through to his history making 700th Test wicket, nothing is off limits.
Warne has seen the highs and lows of the game as well. He mentions the tragic fate of former South African skipper the late Hansie Cronje. Warne admits he was shattered to find him involved in match- fixing as it came to the fore and rocked the cricketing world in year 2000. He felt sorry for him as he was such a competitive player and he really enjoyed and respected him. . He recalls the math- fixing saga. How it should be handled to save cricket.
Warne also delves upon his stint with the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier league . The side he captained to win the first edition of the IPL in 2008 . It was a great moment in his career. But behind the victory he was also anguished that he was never considered for Australian captaincy. Warne’s success in the IPL as skipper re- ignited this debate in Australia as why he was not given the top job in Australian cricket. And it remains a topic of discussion to this day as well.
Warne gets into action mode when he tells his moments during the famous Kolkata Test of 2001 against India. It was only the third time in history that a team had lost after enforcing a follow-on. It was some match, one’ Ill always believe we should have won , says Warne. Australia scored 445, India were blown away at 171. Then India were 215 / 4 . And Warne vividly recalls the majestic fifth wicket- partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid . For two days and two nights passed with no change to the wickets column. Laxman and Dravid were ever present as the score spiralled out of control. It was batting of the highest class. Laxman went on to score a monumental 281 and Dravid a rock-solid 181.
Their partnership of 376 runs was simply astonishing . The total India reached due to Dravid – Laxman heroics was mindboggling 7/ 657. Sourav Ganguly set a target of 383 for Australia which was too much when Harbhajan ( 7/ 123 and 6/ 73 total 13 wickets ) weaved his magic to stun Australia and fashion a remarkable Test win. Australia were bowled out for 212 and India won by a whopping 171 runs.
Warne recalls his dark phase when just before the 2003 World Cup where Australia were the defending champions he had failed a drug test and was instantly dropped by the team captained by Ricky Ponting. And subsequently sent home.
There are host of anecdotes of Warne in this book his relationship with Sachin Tendulkar, his team- mate and skipper Steve Waugh, His clashes with England superstar Kevin Pietersen and his long stint in the Indian Premier league. And yes several memorable Ashes battles with old enemy England.
A sporting great , a celebrity icon, a family man and a self- confessed regular Aussie bloke from the suburbs, In No Spin, Shane Warne offers a compelling insight into how his maverick genius changed the face of cricket. It is a must read for Warne fans.
WITH MARK NICHOLAS