Essex star Dan Lawrence ‘would literally bat anywhere’ if it meant England recall

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Aiming high - Essex batter Dan Lawrence <i>(Image: TGS PHOTOS)</i>

Aiming high – Essex batter Dan Lawrence (Image: TGS PHOTOS)

DAN Lawrence would consider trying his hand as an opener in a bid to kickstart his England career after being squeezed out of the Test side by a middle-order logjam.

The Essex batter looked to be establishing himself in the side after playing all three games on the West Indies tour in March, but was a casualty of a reshuffle by incoming head coach Brendon McCullum and new captain Ben Stokes this summer.

With former skipper Joe Root moving to four, Jonny Bairstow enjoying a career-best run at number five and Stokes settling in at six, it became clear that the only opportunities existed in the top three.

Ollie Pope made a decent case at first drop, but Alex Lees has already been dropped and opening partner Zak Crawley has struggled for consistency.

Lawrence found himself slipping behind Yorkshire’s rising star Harry Brook as he struggled for form and fitness in the 2022 season, but jets off for an England Lions training camp in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday with hopes of reviving his ambitions.

The 25-year-old knows a few big scores would do his cause more good than anything, but also accepts that he may also need to find a new home if he wants to unlock a Test berth.

“The four-five-six they went with – Rooty, Jonny and Stokesy – means I’m fully aware it’s going to be a really hard place to get in,” said Lawrence.

“I fully understand that. With those three it does become very tough to find a slot.

“Then you’ve got people like Brooky, who averaged over 100 in the Championship, and you have to reward that so I completely understood why I went out.

“It was just disappointing getting a taste for it and not being part of the squad but it just makes it even more motivating to get back in.

“It’s whether I shuffle myself around the batting order a little bit and look to move myself up to number three or potentially even opening, just to get myself in the frame for selection.

“If that’s my best way in, I’d definitely give it a crack. I’d bat number nine for them. I would literally bat anywhere if they said that’s where you need to bat to get in.”

Lawrence, who batted at three when the Lions took on South Africa in the summer and posted 97, is aware that positioning is not the only issue at hand.

Hampered by injury setbacks he averaged just 22.10 in Division One this year, with one century and one fifty weighing against four ducks.

“Ultimately, wherever I bat, if I can bang out the runs, then hopefully in time there can be a slot available for me,” he said.

“Honestly, not scoring enough runs when I went back to Essex and then pulling my hamstring twice in the season at quite pivotal moments wasn’t ideal for me.

“I think there might have been an element of being too desperate to get back in and not focusing on what was ahead of me.

“I’m still in their thoughts, I just have to put numbers on paper and hopefully, when the time comes, I can take my opportunity.

“I’ve never doubted my ability when it comes to playing at that level, it’s about me just doing it now, really. Trying to put pressure on all the lads that are already in.”

The most obvious chance to do that is a three-day game between the Lions and the senior squad in Abu Dhabi that acts as a Test warm-up.

For those on the outside looking in, it is the perfect chance to nudge the selectors.

“That’s the most exciting thing about this training camp, the game at the end of it,” said Lawrence.

“It’s going to be a great chance to hopefully bat some long periods of time and put a score on the board.

“All of us are trying to put our name in the hat.”

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