out of my comfort zone: Steve Waugh

Name: out of my comfort zone
Author: Steve Waugh
Genre: Autobiography
Publication: Penguin Books
Price: INR 595/-

STEVE WAUGH, a name which needs no introduction in the present day of cricket. A man who taught the art of "aggressive cricket" to the cricketing community. His autobiography is nothing more than a manifestation of cricketing passion in his heart and hunger to perform in his belly. It is a consolidated journey of how a rookie with many a self doubt transformed himself into a legend of his era.

The privilege of writing the foreword to a legend's life was presented to the wall, Rahul Dravid and Steve's friend forever Tim May. Dravid recalled his first observation of Steve during the 1987 world cup and went on explaining his first encounter with Steve at the Firozshah Kotla a decade later. He also cherished receiving of the winning boundary ball from Steve and had no hesitation in acknowledging the pain of not defeating Australia in Steve's last test at SCG.

Unlike other biographies, the introduction does not have details of Steve's birth, childhood etc but consists of two very important moments of his long spread international cricketing career. one was an exhibition match against Hongkong XI where a disturbing innervoice told him "you aren't good enough" and second was the world cup winning moment at Lords' in 1999. Here Steve observed that life would not be as enjoyable if its always easy and that personal growth comes from having to move out of our comfort zone. May be thats the reason for naming his autobiography as "OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE".

The 700 pages of material about Steve contains 43 chapters excluding forewords, introduction and epilogue. All of the content is arranged in a chronological order of Steve's cricketing years starting from his days of playing cricket in his backyard to his last test at SCG in 2004. Another striking feature of this book is the presence of many rare photos which Steve collected in his almost two decade career as an international cricketer.

The first 15 chapters explains how he approached his early days of cricket, what he went through to cement his place in Australian cricket team and how he craved for his first hundred. Here he explains many incidents which inspired him to be a better cricketer. Few incidents worth a mention are the brilliance of Imran Khan against Allan Border in a county game, emphatic Allan Border after Steve's match winning last over against India in 1987 world cup. It is in this part that Steve called Javed Miandad as a "street fighter" and his experience of being part of a world cup winning team. But the most noteworthy incident of this part of the book is the hangover episode when Steve got his first man of the match award. Because, this led to the banning alcohol in b/n the matches and is being continued by the Australian team till date.

Then comes chapter 16: Attitude, which I would rate as the best part of the book. It is in this part that Steve makes a declaration to himself that he dont want to be part of those who "could have, might have, should have" played international cricket. It is in this chapter all the hardwork made by Steve after getting dropped from the test side was mentioned. It was certainly a treat to read as a legend explains what it takes to be called so. In a proper way of summing up Steve calls that " as the case in all big things we try to achieve in life, my success or failure in this quest came down to one word: Attitude"

From chapter 17-30 Steve explained his days of coming back into the Australian side and becoming the captain of the team. A significant portion of this accounted for Australia-Pakistan series of 1994-95, the early signs of the match fixing scandal and the role of Salim Malik. There was also a clear mention of the Murali-Hair episode and the atmosphere in the dressing room that led to Australians backing away from their fixtures of WC '96 in SriLanka. But the eye catching mention in this part was the eligance of Sachin against Warne at Chennai in 1998. He had no reservations in expressing his awe and calling it as breaking the golden rule (not to play against the direction of spin) and to a give a tag of 'wonder kid' to the maestro.

Chapter 30 was completely dedicated to Udayan and Steve's relationship with that oranisation. It is after this chapter that Steve placed his days of captaincy and further glory which shows the high respect which he carries for that organization. In his days as the captain of Australian side, though many famous incidents and controversies are explained, the best is the motivation he provided to win the WC '99. This is actually the transition phase of a consistent side to an invincible side and making the WC '99 as a mere landmark that passed by. The eye catchy thing here is the mention of a page which Steve gave to each of his team mates containing "Every sacrifice we make is the down payment for the acquisition of the world cup- Tugga". The last few chapters were dedicated to the incidents that led to his dropping as the Australian one day team and various other miscellaneous things. As a case of many great players even Steve is not happy over CA regarding the way his sacking was dealt. Another important mention here was the Wes Indian chase of 407 at Jamaica.

Overall, out of my comfort zone certainly deserves a place in our shelf even if you carry mildest of interest in cricket. If you are not then it shows you all the furnaces one should pass through to be called as a "CHAMPION"

As a note of thanks, I dedicate this article to the one who gifted me this book. Thanks for everything!!!



Really nice review bro. Thanks for giving me the link.

In B&G, Steve is going to give 3 more articles. I have got that promise.

BTW r u the one of... our... Pra pI saM...?
Anonymous said…
I always motivated by you, your views and attitude, again, thanks for this nice post.

- Norman
Justen B said…
Where is that quote "Every Sacrifice We Make" in the book?

I have a copy of the book and read it entirely, but didn't make any notes, so I have no idea where that quote is.

Could you please tell me the page number that that quote is situated?


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