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‘One of a kind as a cricketer’ – Wisden writers discuss Dan Lawrence’s England credentials

dan lawrence
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

After his excellent run of form with the England Lions in Australia, the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast panel discuss the likelihood of Dan Lawrence playing for the senior England team in the near future.

While Lawrence has long been in and around England Lions squads, his pair of centuries in the Lions’ first two red-ball games of their tour of Australia has heaped additional attention on the young Essex batsman. Lawrence burst on the scene back in 2015 as a 17-year-old scoring 161 a County Championship fixture against Surrey and has since been a core member of the Essex side that has won two County Championship titles in three years.

Still only 22, the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast panel of Phil Walker, Yas Rana and Jo Harman, discussed how far off Lawrence is from a senior England call-up given his impressive run of form Down Under.

YR: I can’t believe Dan Lawrence is only 22 given how much he’s achieved in the senior game. He’s played 70 first-class matches, 150 senior games of cricket overall, he’s got 10 first-class hundreds, he’s played a key part in two County Championship winning sides. For someone who has done so much so early in his career, the next logical step is playing for the England senior side. He’s had an amazing Lions tour, in the red-ball and white-ball with bat and ball.

PW: It’s an outrageous tour, he’s not failed in any form on any day. He’s taken wickets in the one-dayers, he’s made runs, an unbeaten fifty and a couple of starts in the other games and he’s made a 190 and 125 under lights (in the red-ball leg of the tour). This is against good quality opposition as well. He has his own game. He has his own organic style – a very creative way of playing, I think. The fundamentals are there, he’s scored tough runs in England against good attacks.

He made a hundred against Jimmy Anderson two years ago early in the season, the year Essex won, their first year back in the Championship. He made 140 to see out a game on day four. He’s not just the wristy, flighty, dasher player of repute – there’s real substance to Dan Lawrence’s first-class record.

What he hasn’t done yet is combine white-ball and red-ball in one summer where you can’t stop reading about him. He had a slow start – considering he opened the batting for the England U19s against the white-ball and had a good U19 World Cup and emerged quite early and was given good chances for Essex in white-ball cricket – he didn’t really crack white-ball batting until last summer.

Dan Lawrence famously emerged as a red-ball cricketer very quickly, he made a 150 as a 17-year-old at The Oval, but his four-day form fell away slightly last year. He had good days, and important days actually for Essex.

JH: He had terrible form in 2018.

PW: When he was playing well in the white-ball stuff, he sunk against the red ball after having a really good year in the year that they won it in 2017. He hasn’t quite got all of it together in one irresistible summer.

He’s been picked for both formats for the England Lions which is telling in itself. His bowling is coming on, his bowling is a marvel to watch. He bowls off the wrong foot, around the wicket, a little bit back of the hand, a bit with the fingers as well, he bowls kind of past his right ear lobe, it’s bizarre to watch but fabulously inventive – he’s one of a kind as a cricketer.

What we need to see now with him is to see him churn it out remorselessly in red-ball cricket and make five or six hundreds in a summer and then with the India tour next year when he can bowl as we’ve seen and he has the chutzpah to make a difference with bat and ball. He would be very, very close to that tour with one more good summer. By that point he’ll be just 23, so everything’s in front of him.

You can listen to the full episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast on the Podcast App or Spotify.

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