Dan Lawrence, a product of Chingford CC, has been regarded as one of the most promising young batsmen in the country since the day he became the third-youngest to make a Championship century, striking 161 for Essex against Surrey at The Oval in April 2015 at the age of 17 years and 290 days. It was only his second first-class game, but his chanceless century, part of Essex’s 600-plus score on a placid surface, brimmed with panache and self-assurance. In doing so he compiled records – and lots of them: youngest Essex first-class centurion, youngest centurion at The Oval, and outdone only by Godfrey Bryan and Dipak Patel in the Championship.
That exciting introduction presented him with quite a reputation to uphold in 2016, but he acquitted himself well, striking three more Championship hundreds in Essex’s promotion year, and identifying himself as an enthusiastic hunter of leg-side boundaries. There was promise, too, in his T20 form, where his spin bowling was also praised by head coach Chris Silverwood as Essex’s “secret weapon”.
Further progress followed in 2017. Lawrence was named as Young Cricketer of the Year by the Cricket Writers’ Club after his 761 runs at 44.76, including three hundreds, helped newly promoted Essex win the Championship for the first time in 25 years. The first of them, a match-saving affair in early season against Lancashire, first signalled that Essex could hold their own in Division One: by going on to lift the title, they certainly proved that. He also made his England Lions debut and was selected for a Lions training camp in Australia.
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