Essex batsman Lawrence ‘would love to get chance in England shirt’ this summer

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 June 2020

Dan Lawrence hits out for Essex against Surrey (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Dan Lawrence hits out for Essex against Surrey (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Essex’s Dan Lawrence remains resolutely phlegmatic about the attention he is receiving as England’s brightest prospect of a benighted cricket summer.

Lawrence joins up for the first time with the senior England squad on Tuesday for training ahead of a three Test series against the West Indies and is no shrinking violet.

He said: “I think if people are talking about you in a positive way then you can only really take it as a good thing. I would rather people were talking about me than not.

“I’m really confident about my game at the moment and I’m desperate to get out there. I’d love it to be in an England shirt, but we’ll have to see how it plays out. And if not, then I’ll go back to Essex and score loads of runs.”

Lawrence is undaunted by the weight of expectation on 22-year-old shoulders after a phenomenal winter in Australia with England’s Lions.

“I think one of my strongest attributes is my belief in my own ability,” added the former Trinity High School pupil. “It’s not something I’ll ever doubt. It is nice having good press and people expecting things of me. Yes, it does put you under a bit more pressure, but pressure is a privilege.”

Lawrence scored 493 runs Down Under in six matches across two formats, including two centuries, two fifties and no innings less than 35 (and that in a game where he took three wickets in four balls with his idiosyncratic off-spin for career-best List A figures of 4-28).

“I played beautifully,” he says simply and without exaggeration.

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Lawrence went armed with an embryonic batting style, having significantly changed his trigger movement, which he had premiered at Chelmsford in the penultimate Championship game of last season against Surrey when he rattled up his first century in more than a year.

“I had a big pre-delivery movement that I shortened down quite a lot,” he explained. “I just tried to stay as still as possible instead of moving quite a lot, which was getting me into quite a bit of trouble.

“Thankfully the Surrey game was the start of that and I scored quite a few runs with it in the winter. It took quite a lot to make that change, but I think it was a really important thing for me to do and I’m happy I did it.”

In a summer of self-analysis and self-improvement, Lawrence also altered his approach to white-ball cricket and reaped the benefits as Essex won the T20 Blast for the first time.

“It was just a mindset change really,” he said. “I always had the skills to be able to perform, but it was just the mindset of trying to dominate, be ultra-positive and take the attack to the opposition.”

That rolled on into the first part of the winter when he helped Deccan Gladiators to the final of the Abu Dhabi T10 and earned himself contracts with Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League – subsequently shelved because of his Lions selection – and with London Spirit in this season’s inaugural Hundred tournament – now mothballed for a year because of coronavirus.

After a busy winter that included an ECB specialist batting camp in Mumbai, it looked as though Lawrence would hit the ground running when the 2020 domestic campaign opened.

“Yes, I was really looking forward to playing with Essex at the start of the season and pushing my case for England selection. But you can’t control what’s going on,” he added.

“I’m one of the fortunate ones in that I’ve been able to get back into training earlier than others, and I’m grateful for that. But I did really want to go back to Essex and put the scores on paper that I knew I could and help Essex win as many games of cricket as possible.

“I want to score hundreds in red-ball cricket and show everyone I can score nice long hundreds as well as go out and play in a completely different role in one-day or T20 cricket – with the option of me bowling some off-spin as well. I want to keep my options open and see where it takes me.”

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