Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Chris Lewis is a free man

The former Leicetershire and England cricketer has been released from prison halfway through a 13-year sentence for drug smuggling,

I find that when he was sentenced I described 13 years as "steep".

In this interview with the Professional Cricketers' Association he says:
“I became afraid of what the future held, and at that point the thinking went awry, I made choices. They were the wrong choices and I say sorry for them."
He is right. The traditional cricketer's benefit may be less lucrative than smuggling cocaine, but it is less likely see you end up behind bars too.

I am aware that Lewis, like Derek Underwood, is a cricketer that many readers will not remember.

His Cricinfo profile says:
When he wasn't posing for a magazine in his underwear, shaving his head and getting sunstroke, or turning up late for practice because of a "flat tyre", Lewis could touch the heights few in the county game can reach. 
His fast-medium seamers were propelled by an athletic, high action, his batting was full of exquisite onside drives and fierce cuts, and his fielding could be sensational. But, apart from some excellent bowling in the 1992 World Cup, he rarely delivered when England needed him most, and his many critics got stuck in.
Lewis was one of many players of his era burdened with the label "the next Ian Botham". If he was never going to be that, I remember him as a better player than his test figures - 1105 runs at 23, 93 wickets at 37.5.

The most substantial video of Lewis I can find shows him making 65 in a lost cause against the West Indies, which rather supports his critics' case.

So instead here he is in action as a bowler and fielder in the remarkable 1990 Lord's test against India - the one where Graham Gooch made a treble century and a century.

I listened to this spell from Lewis as I walked along the North Cornwall coast in glorious weather and recall that he bowled superbly well. The athletic catch off Eddie Hemmings was typical of his superb fielding.

I wish Lewis well. As I also observed when he was sentenced:
My favourite memory of Lewis is seeing him in the nets at Grace Road (Leicestershire's county ground) with a queue of boys waiting to bowl to him. 
Not many test players would bother to do that.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

Ah, I remember Chris Lewis - those were the days when I could watch Test Cricket on the TV. That inspired me to try my hand at playing the game (with little success).

I really do think it's a great shame that Cricket is not accessible on TV any more, it feels like the future of the game was sold for short term profit...