Chingford cricket star shines for England in Sri Lanka

Leytonstone-born Dan Lawrence, 23, wowed the world of cricket with a cool first Test for England, writes Elizabeth Atkin…

Anyone paying attention to cricket right now knows the name of batsman Dan Lawrence.

The 23-year-old Waltham Forest native first won praise from pundits for the promise he showed heading into his debut for England vs Sri Lanka.

“England’s new radical,” said The Independent. “Wonder- kid,” wrote The Telegraph. “A unusual, inventive batsman,” echoed the national selector, Ed Smith.

Lawrence was born in Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone (like, many have noted, legendary footballer David Beckham). He first played at Chingford Cricket Club, where his father was a groundsman, and where he still plays today.

In 2015, he joined Essex County Cricket Club, where he debuted against Kent at age 17. In 2016, he scored a century in his second match, became the third-youngest player to do so in a County Championship.

Essex told the Echo he was instrumental in them winning Division Two, Division One twice and the T20 Blast.

The club’s head coach, Anthony McGrath, said of the star player: “He’s very unorthodox. He hits the ball in unusual areas. He’s someone who looks to score and excite.

“He has got a little bit of an unusual technique, but he’s working on his offside game. Very confident, and I think he’s one of them players [where] you want to watch him. He’ll do something you’re not expecting.”

Indeed, Lawrence himself felt ready to make his debut, telling The Guardian prior to the match: “I feel really confident in my new technique. I really do believe I can be successful, it’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it.

“Hopefully, if I do get the nod I stay true to myself, go out there and really express myself and not sit in a hole or let the situation get too much for me. The confidence in my own game is quite a big strength of mine.”

Staying true to himself, he did. Lawrence quickly garnered admiration from fans, sports writers and fellow cricketers alike as he stepped up for his first Test in Galle, Sri Lanka on 14th January.

Day one was a record-breaker. He became the first England player to go beyond fifty in their first Test innings, since Ben Foakes made a hundred in late 2018. Lawrence may have dropped a catch, but he didn’t let that unnerve him or affect his batting.

Day two saw him score 73 before being caught at short leg, ending the day with the Daily Mail praising him as “born to entertain.”

Long story short: he kept hitting headlines. And by day five, Lawrence had well and truly lived up to the hype. England enjoyed a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test – England’s fourth overseas Test win in a row.

England won the second Test, too – and we suspect we’ll be celebrating more of Lawrence’s success for years to come.