Shane Warne Explains Why He's Still So Popular, And Nails It
It's not just the hairstyle and choice of shirt that's changed for the better.
Shane Warne has become a more self-aware person too. In fact, you could argue quite strongly that he understands his own foibles better than most people understand theirs -- and that he's more focused than ever before.
The cricket legend has been busily spruiking his memoir No Spin this week, which the publisher calls "the last word on Shane Warne’s extraordinary cricketing career and his life off the pitch".
This week, ABC's 7:30 ran a two-pronged chat between Warne and Leigh Sales. In the first instalment, Warne spoke about how the Australian ball-tamperers were too harshly treated -- an interesting point given players from other countries committed similar acts yet received a comparative slap on the wrist.
But the best bits came when Warne discussed himself rather than cricket. In particular, his understanding of reasons behind his enduring popularity made for really great television.
"All my life I've never pretended to be something that I'm not, I've always been straight up, I've always been honest," he told Sales.
"People might not like what I say but I think they respect [my honesty] and I think that's why I'm still popular.
"I think the majority of people still like me because I'm human, I do make a few mistakes, and I'll probably make a few more.
"You might make some mistakes, some silly choices, but that doesn't mean you're an idiot."
The first and pretty much only rule of Australian life is don't be a faker. Be yourself, perfect or not. Warne gets that. At his best, there really is no spin about him.
No Spin is Warne's first book in a decade, the last one being Shane Warne's Century: My Top 100 Test Cricketers. Two years previously, he released Shane Warne: My Illustrated Career, where he looked like this.
Which is a far cry from the dapper look he sported recently for the launch of this new book.
But as mentioned, it's the change inside the 708 Test wicket-taking Spin King which is more profound than anything on the exterior.
The 49-year-old version of Shane Warne knows who he is, knows where he's gone wrong, and knows what's important.
He told Sales that one of the hardest parts of compiling this book was reliving "some things when you've let down your children, your family".
But he said he was now really proud of himself as a parent, and proud of the people his children had become.
Ladies, you may be interested to note that Warne also declared himself very much single, and definitely on the lookout for a meaningful relationship. He said he'd tried dating apps and set-ups from friends but nothing much had worked lately.
The best thing he said last night?
We liked the moment where he spoke of his attitude towards cricket back in the day when his personal life was a wreck. Cricket was the one thing he felt he had control over. And so when he went out on the field each day, he'd tell himself:
"I'm not going to stuff this up, I'm not going to let people down here."
Watching Warne this week, you get the feeling he's finally applying that ethos to the rest of his life.