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July 8, 2006
If West Indies captain Brian Lara wants firepower, he can ask Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith for their opinion. Both these fast bowling legends would advise him that he could look in the direction of Jermaine Lawson, the talented Jamaican fast bowler.
And both icons are willing to help Lawson through the rough period he has been experiencing in recent years. Hall and Griffith, the fiery pair of the 1960s, would both like to work with Lawson and help his rehabilitation. They are passionate and believe he needs the help of everyone in the Caribbean as he tries to conquer accusations of "throwing".
Since his 7 for 78 against Australia in Antigua in 2003 Lawson has been under the microscope. He was put out of the game to reconstruct his action but has struggled since then. His last international outing was in Australia at the end of 2005.
Despite the obstacles the 24-year-old Lawson has kept a decent Test record with 51 wickets in 13 matches at 29.64 apiece and a strike rate of 46.35.
"Don't let anyone fool you, he must be under a lot of pressure," the 67-year-old Griffith said in a recent interview. "He was cleared by the International Cricket Cup and then he was no-balled by an umpire in Jamaica. The West Indies Cricket Board and the Jamaican Cricket Association should step in and help. We have to back our player. If he is not strong enough he will break. "He needs to be helped and he can be an asset in West Indies cricket. He has what it takes and we need to be able to put all things aside and work with this young man," added Griffith, who took 92 wickets in 28 matches from 1960 to 1969.
The outspoken Hall, who took 192 wickets in 48 matches at 26 per wicket, agreed with Griffith that more needs to be done to guide Lawson. "He was asked to remodel his action. He did and when he comes back an umpire standing up, not at square leg, no-balls him. What do you expect him to do as a young man, a young professional working for a living," the 68-year-old Hall said.
"No wonder people say it's the system. That is what happens. My heart goes out to Jermaine Lawson. Where does he go from here? I would like to help Jermaine. The young man needs help from all of us, all of us in the West Indies.
"I would like to talk to him not just about fast bowling, but about the psychological side. He is one of our prospects and needs to be helped. I have said if we can get three pacers bowling at over 90 miles per hour we will consistently beat teams again."
© The Nation
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