by Shane Warne with Mark Nicholas

by Shane Warne with Mark Nicholas

Published by:
Ebury Press
an imprint of Ebury Publishing
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road,
London SW1V 2SA.


Pages: 411

MRP: £ 20


I admit to being an unashamed Shane Warne fan and was delighted to be sent his recent autobiography, No Spin. Warne made leg-spin fashionable again and deserves a lot of credit for his performances on the field. Maybe his award as one of the Five Cricketers of the Century adequately recognises this.

Mark Nicholas has put forward a book in Warne's words and it, at least to me, comes over as one might expect. It certainly feels different yet engaging. Many Australian cricketers seemed to enjoy writing diaries whilst autobiographies and many other books were impressive tomes and Warne's, on first impressions, seemed another of similar proportions. It is, though, considerably shorter than, say, Ponting's and Gilchrist's autobiographies and the 411 pages still has ample space for concise statistics by Richard Isaacs and an index.

The reference to the Gatting ball which undoubtedly forged his career is mentioned regularly but I enjoyed the respect paid to former players, contemporaries and opposition. For sure, not everyone comes out quite as well but No Spin comes over fairly.

Shane's life off the field has been well documented but he has accepted his, at times, mistakes and aberrations. What sort of captain would he have made? It was fascinating reading how he planned a batsman's dismissal and his leadership of the IPL winning team, Rajasthan Royals, is probably adequate proof that he would have made a very fine one. His time at Hampshire brought renewed vigour to the county. It was often suggested that not all players saw eye-to-eye but Shane describes how a still hugely successful Australian side could operate at the height of their powers despite these feelings.

His record made him the centre of attention. When I first saw him bowl, the action was far removed from, say, a Qadir but the subtleties and the end result made him a joy to watch. I had the pleasure and honour of scoring at a B.B.C. quarter-final at Lord's when Hampshire, including Warne, made short work of Langer's Middlesex. The nerves of the occasion did not overshadow the joy of watching Warne bowling live for the first time. Magical.

No Spin is probably exactly what I expected it to be and is a fascinating read. Yes, coming over in Shane's thoughts and words, it is possibly a slightly different style but I found it fun and engrossing. All aspects are covered and many of the sentiments he mentions, I find myself in total agreement with. Cricketers will be pleased that his football career did not quite take off despite being a decent player.

Elizabeth Hurley is much mentioned as is a game that she and Shane hosted at the delightful Cirencester park. I was there and it was a terrific afternoon. He signed many books, including mine, and whilst I did not have the opportunity of thanking him then - as someone did to Andrew Strauss who had turned out - I shall do so now. Thanks for the memories, Shane.