Click here to get a FREE 18 page preview of Ken’s 85th Book – “15 Minutes of Fame”


‘A LITTLE GEM’ – David Frith

David Frith has provided this review for my new book ‘On Ya Warnie’ <p>

Shane Warne was the cricketer of his time, a showman, a spin bowling genius, a modest and essentially good man with all faults regularly and unashamedly displayed.  He became a folk hero, and not only in Australia, with close to a dozen nicknames alongside a bombora of adjectives, mostly denoting admiration. <p>

He also was the architect and executor of the Ball of the Century: that cruelly unplayable, dipping, fizzing leg-spin monster he let loose – his first delivery in Ashes Test cricket – to a helpless Mike Gatting ar Old Trafford in 1993.  Now prolific fellow Melburnian Ken Piesse has swiftly packaged an all-embracing analysis of Warne’s all too short life.    

Fronted by an intriguing montage of caricatures by Harv (Paul Harvey) of familiar people from Mick Jagger and Ricky Ponting to Elton John and (rather cheekily) Her Majesty the Queen, this publication spins out the Warne narrative at a cracking pace, from the podgy boy to the retired leg-spin champion and enthusiastic commentator whose shock death had the cricket world reeling as if torpedoed by that Gatting ball. <p>

Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse: that was the old saying around the time young Hollywood sensation James Dean was killed in his Porsche.  Not that Warne was a Dean.  He was so much more affable a man, one who would sign his name for a long queue of youngsters while his mates were already in the bar.  He was so full of life, and thrilled so many with his magnificent leg-spin variations and radiant personality.<p>

Ken Piesse has captured it all in these pages: the verve, the bounce, the mischief, the charm.  Warne’s popularity could be measured by his nicknames: around eleven of them.  The number of women in his life remains less clear, though the total probably exceeds his bulging bag of Test victims.  Ricky Ponting regards Warne as the greatest cricketer ever, which is provocative, given contenders such as W.G.Grace and Garry Sobers.  Comparisons with Don Bradman are pointless. Comparisons with Muralitharan are invalid in the eyes of the purists in that there was never the slightest doubt about the legitimacy of Warne’s bowling action. <p>

The chapter headed An ABC of Warnie is entertaining: B is for Baked beans, a Warne special; F for Ferrari (Warne owned two); G for Goodwood (where he met Elizabeth Hurley); S for Simone (his long-suffering wife); Y for yo-yo diets: he was forever on them – though even as a tubby 11-year-old he could already give the ball an extraordinary rip.<p>

This little gem concludes with a summary of the Shane Warne memorial service at the MCG, which would have left only the stony-hearted unmoved.   Tears trickled as his brave children spoke.  The tributes stacked up, leaving nobody in any doubt that a most extraordinary and endearing individual had been taken from us. <p>

Review being published in the English Cricketer magazine in the UK







Related Stories