Shane Warne is a cricketing genius. At first there were nerves and chubbiness. Then came vicious spitting legbreaks, followed by fame and flippers. For a long while there were women, then a bookmaker, then diet pills, then more women - and headlines, always headlines. Now he has come out the other end, his bluff and bluster and mischief and innocence somehow intact. The man who in 2000 was rated among the five greatest cricketers of the 20th century was, in 2005, bowling better than ever. When Shane Warne likened his life to a soap opera he was selling himself short. His story is part fairytale, part pantomime, part hospital drama, part adults'-only romp, part glittering awards ceremony. He has taken a Test hat-trick, won the Man-of-the-Match prize in a World Cup final and been the subject of endless press speculation. He was the first cricketer to reach 600 Test wickets. He has swatted more runs than any other Test player without making a hundred, and is probably the wiliest captain Australia never had. He has revived the art of legspin and electrified the game. For all that, Warne's greatest feat is perhaps his latest.
Returning from a one-year ban for swallowing forbidden diuretics, he swept aside 26 Sri Lankan batsmen in three Tests, and the following year scalped an astonishing 40 wickets in a thrilling Ashes series where he alone seemed to stand between England and victory. Shane Warne is the best bowler the world has ever seen. He is a sportsman with an extraordinary God-given talent, a magician who mesmerises his opponents. He is also a kid who won't grow up and a man whose personal life teeters between tragedy and farce. "Spun Out" is his story, guts and glory, warts and all.
Paul Barry is an award-winning journalist and a bestselling author with a formidable reputation for uncovering scandal, investigating crime, exposing corporate cheats and revealing failures in government departments. Barry was born in England and studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University where he graduated with first class honours in 1973. Between 1978 and 1986 he worked for the BBC, latterly on the Newsnight and Panorama programmes, before moving to Australia where he has become a headline-making print and television journalist. He is the author of other controversial books including The Rise and Fall of Alan Bond, The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer and Rich Kids.