Home > Features > Moments in history >

Geoff Lawson: The man who mentored Australia’s finest

Geoff Lawson – The man who mentored Australia’s finest

Following then Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer’s untimely death in 2007, Geoff Lawson (left) came in and straightaway helped the side reach the finals of the inaugural T20 World Cup © Getty Images

Born on December 7, 1957, Geoff Lawson could have been one of the most feared bowlers in the world if not for being plagued with injuries. Prakash Govindasreenivasan looks back at the career of the Australian bowling great, who went on to become one of the most astute coaches in the game.

A tall, lanky young fast bowler from Down Under grabbed eyeballs when he bowled a few bouncers at an England opener. The year was 1978, when England was touring Australia. A lively young chap named Geoff Lawson, hardly 22, ran in to bowl to the Geoffrey Boycott. Lawson managed to hit the England opener with two nasty bouncers before going on to dismiss him. Lawson picked three wickets in that innings and managed to catch the attention of the Australian selectors.

Yet, it took close to two and a half years before Lawson finally got an opportunity to don the white kits for his country. Being an excessively competitive player, Lawson viewed this opportunity as if it were his last and put in as much effort as he could, and pushed his body to perform at the highest level. He succeeded, but his success was unfortunately not as long as he would’ve expected it to be as he was soon plagued by injuries and was pushed down the pecking order. Like a true Australian, he clawed his way back into the side and in two years’ time, he would get the opportunity to orchestrate the bowling attack once again.

Geoff Lawson – The man who mentored Australia’s finest

Coming from a country that produced some of the greatest fast bowlers, Lawson perhaps was undone by his own frailty © Getty Images

This time it was high stakes. Lawson, in the absence of an injured Dennis Lillee, was to lead the pace attack against England in the 1982-83 Ashes. Lawson revelled under pressure and ended the series with a phenomenal tally of 34 wickets to his name, rightfully earning the player of the series award. Lawson did well to bowl consistently for the next two to three years. Despite losing form in the middle, he proved his worth yet again as he picked up a lot of wickets on Australia’s tour of Pakistan, where pitches were never conducive for the quicker bowlers.

But Lawson’s best years came when he captained his domestic side, New South Wales, in the Sheffield Shield. As a leader, he inspired his troops, that comprised the likes of Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh – two Australians who went on to etch their names into the history of Australian cricket. He captained NSW for four years and brought a glorious end to his domestic career as he helped them win the title in his last game ever in 1991-92 season.

Following retirement, Lawson continued to stay connected with the game. He got the opportunity of coaching the side that he player for, for so long. He coached NSW till an offer to coach the Pakistan national side came along. Lawson transported into a tricky space as he took over after the former Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room. This unfortunate incident happened shortly after Pakistan’s embarrassing ouster from the 2007 World Cup after a loss to minnows Ireland. The case is yet to be solved but Pakistan surely moved on. Lawson came in and straightaway helped the side reach the finals of the inaugural T20 World Cup which went to MS Dhoni and his men. He even briefly assisted Afghanistan in the U-19 World Cup and was roped in by Kochi Tuskers Kerala to be their coach during that series.

Lawson was a true Australian – an aggressive man on the field with a strong opinion about the game off it. The man had never layered his words with caution or taken the usual diplomatic route while talking about some of the best players of the modern game. His words showed great passion for the game and his country as he called for various chops and changes that could benefit the Aussies.

He questioned Ricky Ponting’s place in the Australian Test side almost a year before the man announced his retirement and even felt that Sachin Tendulkar needs to re-think on quitting the One-Day International format of the game. He even criticized the attitude of Cricket Australia to protect their young fast bowler Patrick Cummins. He felt the best way to improve and utilize a talent like Cummins was to give him as many games as possible.

Lawson, as a player, could’ve easily been the best and the most feared bowlers to emerge from Australia, if not for his recurring injuries. Coming from a country that produced some of the greatest fast bowlers, Lawson perhaps was undone by his own frailty. But, as a student of the gentleman’s game, Lawson has done exceedingly well.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC).

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test

Videos

Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Live Cricket Score: Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test, Day 2 at Abu Dhabi: Pakistan reach 517/4 at tea

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

PCB honours Nobel Prize for Peace winner Malala Yousafzai

Pakistan 517/4 against Australia at tea on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Misbah-ul-Haq becomes fifth Test captain to score century after age of 40

Younis Khan completes 5th Test double century; Pakistan continue to dominate Australia in 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

Mythbusting — the claim that playing for a weaker batting side handicaps a batsman has no basis

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India film logic on medicine ripped apart (Watch video)

Halloween Special: Sonam Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Rakhi Sawant’s scary pics!

Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Ali Zafar and Govinda on the sets of Comedy Nights with Kapil – view pics!

Run for Unity — an initiative by Narendra Modi for a fitter and united India

Apple’s iPad rules global tablet shipments, but is losing market share: IDC

Pakistan 517/4 against Australia at tea on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Use WikiTweaks to avoid distractions and focus on content on Wikipedia

International programme in Animal Husbandry

‘मास्टरशेफ इंडिया’ के प्रतिभागी बनायेंगे शाकाहारी खाना

NGOs pursue education for all

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here