Wasted Gifts

I last saw Chris Lewis on a cricket field about five years ago, in a club game in Derbyshire. If he'd made more of his ability he could still have been playing county cricket at the time; instead, because of his other great talent, that of wasting his gifts, he was scratching a living as a jobbing pro, increasingly intolerant of the failings of others.

In terms of pure talent there's no doubt in my mind that Lewis could have been a really significant force in international cricket, but, given his clear temperamental failings and the fact that he played all his international cricket in a desperately weak England set-up, it's hardly a surprise that he didn't. To succeed as an England player in the nineties, you needed a bit more than just ability.

Lewis always seemed to be talking about himself in the third person and saying what he was going to do, but, when the chips were down, he rarely, if ever, delivered. To me he seemed to be someone who, deep down, lacked confidence as much as he appeared on the surface to have a surfeit of it.

Now he has at least six and a half years at Her Majesty's Pleasure to reflect on his career and the poor decisions which have left him where he is today. One can but hope that he sorts himself out and comes out able to make the type of contribution to the world at large that could once have been his for the taking.

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