Title: No Spin: My Autobiography
Authors: Shane Warne with Mark Nicholas
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Price: Rs 699
The art of leg-spin is creating something that is not really there. It is a magic trick, surrounded by mystery, aura and fear. What is coming and how will it get there? At what speed, trajectory and with what sound, because when correctly released, the ball fizzes like electricity on a wire,” says the Australian Magician, Shane Warne in his recently released autobiography No Spin: My Autobiography.
Mark Nicholas, a former First-Class cricketer from England and a prolific writer and commentator who co-authored the autobiography has undoubtedly let the floodgates open for Warne to say what he had never ever spoken about before. In introduction, Nicholas makes it clear that: “The book is written mainly in his (Warne’s) vocabulary. It is Shane’s story not mine.” So it is.
As a reader one gets a feel of personal conversation with leg spin legend and that makes it even more interesting chapter after chapter. From his professional high to personal low, Warne has revealed it all. From 1998 match-fixing controversy to his romance and engagement with international celebrity Elizabeth Hurley, the pages reveal it all. Those who have followed Warne as a cricketer and also as a person in limelight for all the bad reasons, has to admit that he never backed out from any controversies. He faced all of them with an upright face and moved ahead in life. The autobiography gives readers an ample insight to what Warne felt while being on the pitch and off too.
Right at the start Warne talks about his maternal roots in Europe and his fondness for beers and junk food during his growing up years alongside cricketing dreams. But it was not just enough to dream about playing international cricket, one had to be put through the mill and tests to be declared qualified for the same. Turning point in Warne’s life came when he came in contact with Coach Terry Jenner. Warne recounts Jenner ripping him apart like no one had ever done to him before by saying: “You are overweight — fat, actually. You have no discipline and you think you are better than you are. You didn’t deserve to play for Australia”. That turned out to be the main turning point for the several turns to follow thereafter once the leather was let loose of Warne’s magical fingers.
As you read, you will be introduced to various facets of the leg-spinner who rewrote the record books. Along with some rare insights in form of photographs, the book touches upon some of delicate issues in Warne’s life we had only read or heard about but never got to the truth of it.
To conclude this review I would like to quote both the authors Warne the speaker and Nicholas the wordsmith.
“I’m proud that whenever the PA system at the ground said, ‘Coming on to bowl at the Members End is…Shane Warne,’ the spectators would be excited enough to get back to their seats in expectation of something, anything, being about to happen. That’s the magic,” says Warne.
On the same note, Nicholas writes: “Women have been both his fun and his folly. Cricket, of course, has been his fulfilment.” And, between both the versions, lies the ‘Ball of the Century’.