It’s biog­ra­phy time – be­ware

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT -

Writ­ing a biog­ra­phy is not for the faint­hearted, as crick­eter Sachin Ten­dulkar is dis­cov­er­ing.

Ten­dulkar, the idol of In­dia, has re­leased Play­ing It My Way, and has been ham­mered for be­ing too out­spo­ken and not out­spo­ken enough.

He at­tacked Greg Chappell’s han­dling of the In­dian team, de­scrib­ing him as ar­ro­gant and di­vi­sive. That pro­voked an out­cry, with many say­ing Ten­dulkar was dig­ging up dirt to try to sell books.

He barely touched on var­i­ous match-fix­ing al­le­ga­tions that have swirled around the In­dian team for two decades, and has been ac­cused of shirk­ing his re­spon­si­bil­ity to be hon­est and up­front.

Ac­tu­ally, in terms of bi­ogra­phies Ten­dulkar’s seems pretty good, with morsels to pique the in­ter­est of cricket fol­low­ers.

He praises Nasser Hus­sein as the best test cap­tain he saw, de­scribes his ter­ror in in fac­ing Wasim Akram and Waqar You­nis as a 16-yearold on his test de­but, re­veals he had more than 100 cor­ti­sone in­jec­tions dur­ing his ca­reer and speaks of hav­ing to catch four buses on his way to cricket prac­tice as a young­ster.

Eng­land’s en­fant ter­ri­ble, Kevin Pi­etersen, also got into the book business re­cently with KP: The Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

Pi­etersen is a fairly out­there character and so is his book, with tren­chant crit­i­cism of some coaches and cap­tains, but only limited anal­y­sis of him­self. Some pun­ters love it – the book has sold well – but the Eng­land cricket es­tab­lish­ment has rounded on him.

Some bi­ogra­phies are merely ha­giogra­phies. Oth­ers make lit­tle pre­tence at re­veal­ing much about the sub­ject. Phil Gif­ford once wrote Grizz: The Legend, which re­told many myths and sto­ries about All Black coach Alex Wyl­lie, but of­fered lit­tle of sub­stance.

Along the same lines, Aus­tralian swimming cham­pion Ian Thorpe re­leased This is Me in 2012. Only it wasn’t re­ally him. In the book, he ve­he­mently de­nied he was gay. Two years later he outed him­self, say­ing he had been gay for many years.

Some out­stand­ing bi­ogra­phies are gen­uine au­to­bi­ogra­phies, writ­ten by the sport star, rather than ghost- writ­ten. Chris Laid­law’s Mud in Your Eye, Gra­ham Mourie’s Cap­tain and Jeremy Coney’s The Play­ing Man­tis are three that come to mind.

Crick­eter Martin Crowe has had two at­tempts at books of a bi­o­graph­i­cal na­ture. His first, Out on a Limb, pub­lished in 1995, was a fairly stan­dard and rather shal­low ef­fort.

Last year Crowe wrote Raw, which was al­to­gether dif­fer­ent. He was suf­fer­ing from can­cer by then and partly at­trib­uted that to the stress of his life, stress he felt had been caused by hold­ing grudges, not al­ways act­ing fairly and so on.

Raw was well named be­cause it was bru­tally hon­est and parts of it were com­pelling.

Some­times a book is of­fered as an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, but is clearly not the work of the sub­ject.

Es­teemed sports writer Terry McLean ghost-wrote I, George Nepia and it’s fair to say it con­tains more McLean than Nepia.

My favourite au­to­bi­og­ra­phy story, though, con­cerns Amer­i­can bas­ket­ball star Charles Barkley. His first au­to­bi­og­ra­phy ( there have been sev­eral), Out­ra­geous, was re­leased in 1992.

No sooner had it hit the book­shops than Barkley was cry­ing foul, say­ing he had been mis­quoted. That was surely a first – some­one claim­ing he had been mis­quoted in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

Photo: GETTY

Re­vised ver­sion: Ian Thorpe wrote This is Me in 2012 and two years later con­ceded the per­son de­scribed in the book wasn’t re­ally him.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.