‘I’m a cricketer, what makes me different?’ England’s black players on racism and exclusion

E

Emma John

Guest
Forty years since the first black cricketer played for England, players open up on their experiences

In 1981, David “Syd” Lawrence played his debut season for Gloucestershire – a big deal for a 17-year-old, who had inherited his cricketing passion from his Jamaican father. He was sitting in his hotel room during his first away game when there was a knock at the door. He opened it to find a banana skin outside, left there by one of his own teammates. “And I just remember shutting the door…” says Lawrence.

That’s all the former England bowler manages, for a long while. The pain of the memory has sandbagged him, and he needs time to recover. “I’m sorry,” he says eventually. “It’s hard when you relive this.”

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