Lewis expands horizons of 'English' bowling

Jon Lewis is not the first England player to be pigeonholed as an English-style bowler, and he will not be the last to take offence at the generalisation.

When fast-bowling legends like Alec Bedser and Brian Statham were setting standards the comment would have been treated as a compliment, because it suggested that you were strong, wholehearted, skilful and consistent.

But modern bowlersare expected to be flexible, dashing, daring and cute. They must bowl slower balls, faster balls, inswingers, out-swingers, bouncers and yorkers. And when reverse swing is brought into the equation? A bowler needs an eight-ball over to go through his repertoire.

Lewis, who took a career-best 4 for 36 against Australia on Friday, does not want to be viewed as he is, even though he is an English-style seamer, because it suggests he is limited in how and where he can take wickets. I was placed in a similar bracket, and it probably cost me 20 Tests.

"It is something I have been labelled with and it is something I have to deal with," he said here yesterday, on the eve of England's Commonwealth Bank series match against New Zealand. "I have never thought of myself as an English-style bowler. I have always believed that I can bowl at any place across the world at any time, and the fact that I have taken wickets here, and in the one-dayers in England at the end of last summer, may help remove the illusion that I can only take wickets in May in England."

Lewis' pedigree is questioned because he is not particularly tall or fast. But he is competitive and has an excellent chance of making the World Cup XV because he is strong, wholehearted, skilful and consistent. The 31-year-old has these attributes because he has been playing county cricket for Gloucestershire for more than a decade and during several winters when he has not been involved with England he has played a high level of cricket abroad.

Lewis' development is the antithesis of James Anderson, Sajid Mahmood, Chris Tremlett and Liam Plunkett, the other fast bowlers in England's one-day squad. These were identified as outstanding prospects at a young age, and have spent most of their careers in the pampered and overcoached world of the national academy. And there are many, myself included, who believe that the sanitised nature of this existence does not fully prepare cricketers for a Test or one-day international.

Lewis has done both. "I am secure in the knowledge of what I do, and county cricket has a lot to do with that," he said. "You need to know your own game, and if you don't have that when the pressure is on you have nothing to fall back on."

* The Pakistan coach, Bob Woolmer, has said he is "open to offers" from the England and Wales Cricket Board to take over from Duncan Fletcher as England coach after the World Cup.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'