The Ashes 2021-22 – Dan Lawrence You can’t keep using the excuse that you’re inexperienced

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Dan Lawrence heads off for the Ashes next month knowing that England’s next generation of batters cannot retain their Test places on potential alone. However, he believes that a combination of Australia’s run-laden wickets, and a year spent watching Joe Root’s masterclasses at close quarters, can only augur well for his and his team-mates’ chances of success.

In a stop-start first year in England’s Test side, Lawrence’s performances to date epitomise the issues in the team’s junior ranks, with his three well-compiled half-centuries offset by four ducks and a current average of 27.23 that he concedes is “very frustrating”. He has hardly been alone in underachieving, however. While Root has racked up six centuries in a formidable year, Rory Burns’ hundred against New Zealand in June remains England’s only other three-figure score in 12 Tests.

“It does get to a stage where we just need to score runs,” Lawrence said during a #Funds4Runs event in Leyton. “That is your currency, and it gets to a stage where being inexperienced might not be an excuse that you can keep on using. We need to score runs, and if we do that we’ll stay in the team and if we don’t, then we don’t unfortunately.”

Nevertheless, Lawrence’s initial displays – including a matchwinning half-century on debut in Galle and 96 runs on a spinners’ deck in Ahmedabad – have given him confidence that he is “more than good enough” to succeed in the long term. And, after starring on England Lions’ tour of Australia two winters ago, he believes he has plenty of good memories to fall back on when the Ashes action gets underway in just under two months’ time.

“It’s had a quite a big impact on my career,” Lawrence admitted, after finishing as the Lions’ stand-out performer in the first-class leg of their tour in February and March 2020. He scored 493 runs at 98.60 in six innings, with the second of his two hundreds coming at the MCG against Australia A, as England’s second XI won their first unofficial Test Down Under after seven blank campaigns.

“I was really desperate that winter to get my name out there and be relentless, and score runs every week, and thankfully I did.

“It was a great opportunity, to not only experience some of the best grounds in Australia, but to learn how to score runs there, and how to develop and adapt my game. I know it’s different to what the Ashes is going to be, but it is nice to have something in the bank, knowing that I have got the capability to score big runs consistently out there.”

And when it comes to being relentless, Lawrence knows that he and his team-mates have been granted a ringside seat this year for one of the most impressive feats of run-harvesting in England’s Test history. So far in 2021, Root has amassed 1455 runs at 66.13, with four scores in excess of 180, and almost 1000 runs more than the next most effective England batter (Burns, with 479).

“It was an absolute privilege to watch him from the dressing room all summer, and in the winter as well,” Lawrence said. “He’s obviously a bloke at the peak of his powers, batting as well as anyone has done for years and years.

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