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banner Monday, 18 March, 2002, 16:34 GMT
Life outside cricket
David Lawrence
BBC Sport Online's Thrasy Petropoulos speaks to David Lawrence, 10 years after the bowler went down in agony in a Test match in Wellington.

A decade has passed since David "Syd" Lawrence shattered his left kneecap in Wellington.

But to anyone within earshot of the burly fast bowler, the sound of the crack and piercing scream of agony that followed will never be forgotten.

England were no more than going through the motions on the last day of that third Test, content in the knowledge that they had already taken the series 2-0.

But for Lawrence, playing in his first Test on foreign soil, this was a great opportunity to show that he could generate enough pace to trouble batsmen on even the flattest of pitches.

Jack Russell
Jack Russell had urged Syd to bowl faster

When Jack Russell told his Gloucestershire team-mate that he wasn't hitting the gloves particularly hard, Lawrence was incensed.

In he came, charged up as never before, and put all his effort into that fatal delivery, the first of his third over, and... snap!

"All I can remember is extreme pain," recalls Lawrence. "I consider myself a bit of a hard guy.

"I used to box and I could take a hit. But I had never experienced anything like that before.

"I was just about to bowl and the muscle contracted, severing my left kneecap in two.

"I stayed conscious through the whole thing. Sadly that's why some people break kneecaps, because it has to be one of the most painful parts of the body to break."

Carried off

It took six members of the England team and management to carry Lawrence from the field.

Three hours later, he was undergoing surgery. He did not need to be told that his international career was over.

He was only playing in the Test because Derek Pringle and Chris Lewis had pulled out with injuries.

And he had visited the team physio that morning complaining of soreness in his left knee but he was advised to play through the pain.

In full flow against Sri Lanka, 1988
In full flow against Sri Lanka, 1988

Even though it cost him any chance of adding to his five Test caps - two attempted comebacks for his county ended in disappointment - Lawrence is remarkably philosophical about the physio's advice.

"You know what it's like - fast bowlers are always whinging to physios about sore backs, knees and legs," he said.

"It wasn't his fault that he told me I could play. It's not as if he could see through skin."

That seems to be Lawrence's general approach to life.

While many former cricketers turn to coaching or punditry after their playing days, Lawrence has found success outside cricket.

"I've always been a confident person, always looking on the bright side of things," he said.

Media work not for all

"There are a hundred and something county cricketers in the country at any one time and coaching or media work is not for everyone when they finish playing.

"The way I look at it, there are people who train for four years to become journalists.

"What makes me think that I can turn up and do it better than that person, just because I have played the game?

"I had other interests and bought Boom, a restaurant, before being bought out a while ago. I used the money to buy a nightclub, DoJo.

"So now you can call me a dodgy nightclub owner."

Overweight boxer

It was as a cricketer that Lawrence most wanted to be remembered, but in 1996 he drew a line under that dream.

"I was like an overweight boxer - fat, flabby and slow - so I quit for good," he recalls.

"But I didn't want to get to 60 and wonder if I would ever have been able to make a comeback.

"I had to prove to myself that I could - or at least know for certain that I couldn't. And that I did manage something means a lot to me.

"I was fortunate to be able to move on. You have to get on with your life."

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