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


Emma John

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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