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Saturday, January 3, 2015

the body builder who once bowled fast too ... David Lawrence !!

The exhaustive list contains : K Jayantilal, Yograj Singh, Thirumalai Echambadi Srinivasan, Rakesh Shukla, Ajay Sharma, Rashid Patel, M Venkatramana, Salil Ankola (who debuted along with Sachin Tendulkar), Gursharan Singh, Subroto Banerjee, Vijay Yadav, Robin Singh, Saba Karim, …… some of the  Indian Test Cricketers who represented the Nation only once… !! -

 - And there are some whose Career was shortened for non-cricketing reasons, specifically injuries. Can you imagine that this body  builder represented England once in a One dayer and in 5 tests.  It is David 'Syd' Lawrence, now a bodybuilding champion and a former England bowler. David  Lawrence has become an over-40s bodybuilding champion – more than  two decades ago, he forced his way into the England team, played a solitary test and a few One dayers before an injury forced him out - an agonising injury in his delivery stride that saw his left knee cap shattered, him screaming in agony on the floor and his cricket career done for.

Now the 50-year-old is back in sporting action, posing and parading his bronzed physique. Lawrence was recently crowned the National Amateur Body Building Association's West of England champion for the over-40s category, and told the Daily Mirror he's taken to the tough regime. 'I went to a competition in my mid-40s with a friend of mine who was competing and I looked at the people on the stage and I thought, "I can do this",' he says. 'But after turning my hand to it, I discovered the hardest part wasn’t the weights and training in the gym, by far the toughest part was the 14 weeks of dieting before competition.

A great achievement if we are see his life in flash back.  The man born in 1964 played for Gloucester and made his test debut in 1988 against Sri Lanka.   He played 5 tests taking 18 and the best being 5 for 106. He went through the trough, a bout of depression but survived and has peaked now.  A horrific knee injury suffered when bowling for England ended this powerfully built fast-bowler's career, just at the moment when he looked to have established himself in the Test team. On the last day of a dead Test against New Zealand at Wellington, Lawrence fractured his left kneecap as he was about to bowl and fell horribly, his chilling cries of pain echoing around the stadium. His Test career was over, his first-class career as good as, though he did attempt a comeback with Gloucestershire in 1997.

David Lawrence made his ODI debut in the final match of the 1991 Texaco Trophy against West Indies. He managed four wickets but conceded 67 runs off ten overs. Lawrence was given his first overseas Test cap at Wellington in 1993 and in the final stages of a drawn Test; he shattered his knee cap in delivery stride, effectively ending his international career.

It is stated that Lawrence,  playing for Gloucester against the touring mighty West Indies, he struck the tall promising Phil Simmons on the temple.  Simmons had not been wearing a helmet, and his heart had actually stopped beating as he was rushed to Frenchay hospital for emergency brain surgery. Miraculously, Simmons made a full recovery, and was fit and focused enough to take his place for all five Tests of West Indies' next tour of England in 1991. Lawrence, meanwhile, managed to remain unaffected by the drama, and made his Test debut against Sri Lanka three months later.

He took 18 test wickets – and in that tour of New Zealand 1993, the 2nd test was meandering towards a draw.   The match was Ian Botham's 100th Test. Not included in the original 12, he was brought in when Lewis and Pringle withdrew, the former having lost a fingernail, the latter with a back strain. Lawrence who was in the tour squad was given his first Test abroad.  When Kiwis batted, Wright and Jones grinded with a partnership of 241  that  took six hours and 23 minutes, and 107 overs. 

In the dying stages of otherwise dull match - Lawrence ran in to bowl the first ball of his third over, the fast bowler's left knee buckled in delivery and he collapsed with an appalling scream. Still in pain, he was carried from the field on a stretcher and taken to Wellington Hospital, where the knee-cap - cleanly broken - was wired the following morning leaving Lawrence agonisingly out of Cricket.  What a marvellous come back, though it is not Cricket.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Nov. 2014.


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