DateLine: 20th December 2005
With Mike Smith’s retirement, Jon Lewis has taken over his role as Gloucestershire’s smothering seamer. This was seen to great effect in the 2004 C&G Final, where he decapitated the Worcestershire top-order with the new ball and was virtually unplayable in his opening spell. In the previous year’s final, against the same opposition, he had taken 2-28 off his 10 overs. On both occasions those performances were crucial to the winning Gloucestershire effort. His craft with the ball, and his ability to produce his best on the big occasion saw him being called up to the England Test squad to face South Africa in the Fifth Test of the 2004-5 series. In the event, Lewis wasn’t needed, and he was again an unused squad member for the Bangladesh Test series in 2005. However, his international chance did come, at least in the limited-overs form of the game. He played a massive part in England’s Twenty20 victory against Australia, returning 4-24 off his 4 overs as the visitors were bundled out for just 79. After that great debut, he refused to cut his hair, Bjorn Borg style, for fear it may break his good fortune. Lewis went on to play three ODI’s, where his typically English medium fast movement proved a handful to Bangladesh’s inexperienced batsmen, although he predictably fared less well against the Australians, with both Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist depositing him for six. However, he was again a thorn in the Australians side as he was able to hold up an end while Kevin Pietersen deposited their attack all over Bristol. That Lewis was able to play a part in securing victory on his home ground doubtless made it even sweeter. He has since drifted away from the international scene, being overlooked for the winter tour to Pakistan. The feeling persists that he may be a little too slow to really worry international class batsmen, although in murky English conditions even the best batsmen wouldn’t relish facing him.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)