County set - Yorkshire July 15, 2004

Relaxed Dawson

Martin Searby
Richard Dawson had just turned 21 when he played the first of his seven Tests in December 2001 and not much older when he played his last at Sydney in January two years later

Richard Dawson had just turned 21 when he played the first of his seven Tests in December 2001 and not much older when he played his last at Sydney in January two years later. Since then not much has gone right for him but, as many believed, he has come good again this summer and at the half way stage he was the county's leading wicket taker with 23 at just over 25 each.

"I had a miserable time of it last season and thought I would never get it back again," he says. "I'd seen what happened to Gavin [Hamilton] and could see myself going the same way. But I took a winter off, put cricket out of my mind and learned to relax again. I saw a sport psychologist who really only stated the obvious but every little helps and I came back in the spring in a different frame of mind. I'm a lot happier with the way things are going and have put the past behind me."

A graduate of Batley Grammar School with a degree in sports sciences from Exeter University, he has already had a 5 for 40 and looks a different proposition from last season's bundle of nervous energy, who raced through an over as though his shirt tails were on fire.

It is all too easy to forget he is 23 and, `as every fule no', spinners often do not mature until they have been in the game rather longer than Dawson.

Moment of the month Phil Jaques making 243 out of 367 from the bat against Hampshire.