Essex batsman Dan Lawrence has strong inner belief the County Championship Division One champions can create a lasting legacy
PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:29 12 April 2018
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The local youngster looks ahead to the 2018 season, discusses Anthony McGrath's promotion and reveals his own targets for the campaign
For a 20-year-old, there is an impressive confidence about the way Dan Lawrence speaks when discussing his own ambitious and what Essex aim to achieve this season.
The former Trinity Catholic High School student has forged quite the reputation since his debut in April 2015 and a glance at his stats shows you exactly why.
Lawrence has scored 10 fifties and seven centuries in 41 first-class matches and played a big role in Essex’s Division Two and Division One triumphs.
It is this form which earned him a spot on the England Lions tour to Australia and although injury made for a stop-start winter, he is back fully fit now and ready to help the county champions succeed again.
“I see no reason why we can’t dominate over the next few years,” said Lawrence, when told team-mate Jamie Porter believes Essex should at least be “there or thereabouts” challenging for the title over the next six seasons.
“We have got so many players who are coming into their peak years where they will hopefully score loads of runs and we have young players coming through who are motivated and want to push on.
“Then we have a really good back-up squad. We have some really good young fast bowlers coming through, so if we can get on a good roll early, I don’t see why we can’t carry it on throughout this season and take it into the next few years.”
If Essex are to achieve more success this season, they will have to do it without someone who has played a massive role in the past two campaigns.
Shortly after the Division One title was secured and the term came to an end, it was announced Chris Silverwood would leave his head coach position to join the England coaching set-up.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Essex players, but number two Anthony McGrath has taken on the baton and brought in Dimi Mascarenhas as his assistant.
Lawrence added: “All of the lads really respect ‘Mags’ and he has been around at the club for a couple of years, so we all know how he works.
“As much as ‘Silvers’ is going to be missed, it is not going to be a massive change. They both go about things the same way and Dimi has come in now and fitted in fantastically well.
“He is a really good bloke, a really good coach and I think them two working together could be excellent for the club.”
What would help McGrath and Mascarenhas is Lawrence hitting form early again and piling on the runs like he did last year.
The talented local youngster, who was born in Whipps Cross, struck some important innings at the start of Essex’s memorable Division One winning campaign.
His unbeaten 141 in the first game of the 2017 season helped the Chelmsford-based club draw their opener with Lancashire from a tough position.
A crucial 75 in another drawn fixture in April, this time at Lord’s against Middlesex, was also important and so was his 107 against Surrey a month later.
While Lawrence was content with his tally of 761 first-class runs last season, this year he has a bigger target and is eager to add more consistency to his game.
“I’m looking for a thousand runs in Division One this season,” said the former England under-19 international.
“I did get some big scores last year, but it was the scores in between where I need to improve, so I want to score heavily and hopefully contribute towards winning more games of cricket for Essex.”
After a mixed winter, Lawrence will aim to show he is a better player now compared to this time last season.
The batsman, who can also bowl off-spin, was part of the England Lions squad which went to Australia last November ahead of the 2017 Ashes series.
He then remained part of the group which was set to face the West Indies, but an injury to his hand in the nets cut short his time in the Caribbean.
Lawrence was due to feature in more games for England Lions before playing in the North-South series, but instead returned home for rehab.
Thankfully he was able to come back quicker than expected and despite some frustrating times this winter, he feels he has grown up and become a “better bloke” in recent months and can’t wait for Friday’s opener at Yorkshire.
“What we’re really good at is once we get on a roll of winning, we generally win quite a few on the bounce,” said Lawrence.
“If we can start nicely against Yorkshire and we don’t look too far ahead, we’ll see how we get on.
“We’re all really excited to get going again now and hopefully we can start the season really well.”