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Shane Warne: My Autobiography Hardcover – 16 Aug 2001
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In My Autobiography, Aussie leg-spin maestro Shane Warne, perhaps the outstanding cricketer of his generation--and one of the most consistently newsworthy characters in sport--takes stock of a phenomenally successful career, and gives his account of the scandals and controversies that have sent the media into spasms of delighted indignation.
From his days as a frustrated teenage wannabe Aussie Rules star, who decided he might as well try his hand at cricket, Warne has almost single-handedly taken the gentle, studious art of spin-bowling and turned it into a thrilling gladiatorial spectacle--on the way gathering career stats that rank him in company with the game's all-time elite.
Warne crashed into the world spotlight in 1993, when his first-ever ball in Ashes cricket made seasoned England star Mike Gatting look like a floundering buffoon:
In the second or so it took to leave my hand, swerve to pitch outside leg stump, fizz past the batsmen's lunge forward and clip off stump, my life did change ... Ian Botham said he hadn't seen the same look of wide-eyed horror on Gatting's face since somebody had stolen his lunch a few years before.
And he has hardly looked back since--on the pitch at least. Outside the boundary rope it has been a different, though no less sensational story. The media has revelled in tales of extra-marital phone-sex, match-fixing controversies, and bust-ups with the game's authorities and fellow professionals--sparking endless nonsensical speculation as to whether this hard-drinking, smoking "yobbo" was too fat, too loud, too arrogant or just plain too much for cricket to take.
This is a candid chronicle of his side of the story, and along the way there are some wonderful revelations about the mysteries of spin-bowling, the professional art of "sledging", and a fascinating insider account of Australia's rise to world dominance. A frank observer of others; an insightful assessor of his own achievements and motivations--and rarely descending into bland PR-consciousness--The King Of Spin has once again confounded all expectations and served up a peach. --Alex Hankin
The text has been embargoed due to a big serial deal, but we have some idea of the contents. Arguably one of the greatest leg spinners of all time, Shane Warne has taken over 450 wickets since his debut and played his first Test against India in Sydney. By 1996 he had dismissed great batsmen from many Test-playing countries. Voted one of five outstanding bowlers of the 20th Century, Warne was recently described as one of the most adroit spinners of the ball, with superb control of leg spin, the flipper and the googly. His quirkily written autobiography describes many choice moments in his spectacular career. Warne was born in Victoria, Australia in 1969, and he conjures up his early ambition and a colourful narrative account of the various Ashes series in which he has been involved. He offers his personal view on sportsmanship and the relationship between Australia and Sri Lanka, as well as providing cogent observations on captaincy and the leg spinners he respects. He talks candidly about his fascination with gambling and about the conflict between his public and private life.See all Product description
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Warne has always been colourful both on and off the field and a lot of his off-field antics have gained a great deal of publicity. In the book he attempts to explain away all of the situations he found himself in, whilst always attempting to show that nothing was his fault in any way. Put frankly he comes across as a whiner.
The chapters about his early years and going to the accademy are interesting enough, though I would have enjoyed more detail be provided about how he developed his incredible action. The book starts to struggle towards the end and as mentioned previously turns into a torrent of feeble excuses that you would expect a schoolboy to trott out to a teacher.
The author's frank admission that he has never read a 'complete book' in his life, leads one to presume that this book was heavily ghost written by Richard Hobson, but the contradictions throughout the book definitely have Warne's footmarks all over them. For instance, in the section on 'Sledging' he claims that he can see nothing wrong with this tactic as long as comments don't get personal, but any cricket follower with audio on his TV would know that Warne has a history of personalising his sledging, with the likes of Stuart Carlisle coming in for some much publicised 'personal comments' from Mr Warne. He goes on to say that he would never humiliate a fellow player, but anyone who saw Warne mockingly laughing at Paul Adams dismissal would find this a hard one to swallow.
He talks with pride of how Australians are innovative in their ability to stretch the laws of the game to their benefit, without breaking them, but then goes on to harangue players of other nationalities, such as Arjuna Ranatunga for doing likewise. In fact, it appears that Ranatunga has found a special place in Warne's heart and should therefore come in for praise from him for achieving his own stated goal of being able to affect an opponents game.
This book does appear to be aimed at the British Market with large swathes of the book concentrated on Ashes duels, and his time at Hampshire. At times you could be forgiven for thinking that the book is being used as a vehicle to get Warne another lucrative contract at Hampshire.
All in all, well worth a read, but if you find the 'win at all costs' mentality disturbing then the author's double standards become particularly annoying.