Top positive review
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Best book on Warne
on 11 December 2012
I have read most biographies and the autobiography of Shane Warne. This is easily the best book. Haigh does a superb job of classifying Warne's career into Warne 1.0 to Warne 4.0 and how he adapted himself during each phase. I also enjoyed the analysis of Warne's relationships with McGrath, S Waugh, MacGill and Buchanan. These throw a completely different light on the dynamics within the great Australian side. It was not all "hunky dory" when it came to relationships between Warne and S Waugh, Gilchrist and even Ponting, in the later years. Haigh is insightful in many places. For example, he observes that bowling partnerships, are a zero sum game, which creates its own conflicts as there are only 20 wickets to take whereas there is no such limit for a batting partnership.
There are three areas of the book where I feel Haigh has either not been objective or explored concepts fully:
1. Warne's record against India. Haigh mentions that Warne was injured on the 1998 tour and was just recovering from injury on the 2001 tour. He also mentions that Warne should have bowled a more restrictive line within the stumps when bowling in India. This does not go far enough for me for Warne's record against India is the one blot on a great career. He does not, for example, mention that Warne 1.0 never played a test against India or how Warne could have bowled more effectively.
2. He has not been objective with the diuretic episode that got Warne banned from the 2003 World Cup. It is too simple to accept that Warne took a tablet, given by his mother, to look good ahead of a World Cup. There was no question of his doing so to enhance his performance as he was not playing cricket during that time. It was certainly worth Haigh exploring whether he would have taken steroids, and a diuretic subsequently to mask the intake, to heal his shoulder injury, faster, to play in his last World Cup.
3. I accept that it is for Warne's wife, and not the media, or the fans to judge Warne for his dalliances with women. Even allowing for this, Haigh goes way too far to try to explain the potential reasons (e.g. how easy it is for male sports celebrities to flirt with women) on why Warne gets into these relationships. He eventually stops saying that offering further reasons is speculating since he knows and his objective is to analyse Warne the cricketer and not the person. But he has already gone too far before stopping.
For these three reasons, I rate this book with four stars instead of five. If your vocabulary is only as good as mine, I would recommend reading this book on a Kindle as Haigh's style is very expansive with his choice of words (even the Kindle's dictionary gives up on some words). The Kindle helps you look up meanings of words immediately rather than having a dictionary open on the side with a hardback or a paperback.