Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis released from prison
Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis has been released from prison after serving six years for a drug smuggling offence, which he has confessed to having been driven to by financial trouble. The disgraced bowling prodigy of the 1990s had been given a 13-year sentence in 2009 for attempting to smuggle £140,000 worth of dissolved cocaine into England from the West Indies.
Lewis played in 32 Tests and 53 one-day-internationals for England, including in the 1992 World Cup – never fulfilling the promise he had shown in his early years.
Lewis said money concerns in 2008 had led to him to commit the act for which he was jailed. He had been stopped at Gatwick airport in December 2008 for smuggling liquid cocaine into Britain hidden in fruit juice tins in his cricket bag.
"I became afraid of what the future held, and at that point the thinking went awry," said the 47-year-old in an interview after his release.
Sorry for wrong choices: Lewis
A rare combination of the perfect physique and a raw talent had catapulted Lewis to early stardom after his debut in 1990. Despite his 93 Test wickets and 66 ODI wickets, Lewis is considered as someone who threw it all away when a path of fame and greatness appeared to be laid at his feet.
Lewis said, “I made choices. They were the wrong choices and I say sorry for them. I’ve had six years in jail and until recently I would still look around and think ‘wow you’re in jail’. That was not part of the plan. I never saw that coming.
“Jail time for most is what you do with your mind. It is a really hard mental exercise to stop yourself from thinking negatively. Spending all your life at liberty and all of a sudden you are not.”
In April 2000, Lewis had passed information to the England and Wales Cricket Board regarding match-fixing allegations involving offers made to him and three other English players by Indian bookmakers. He was not in the national team when he made the allegations, and the incident left him an unpopular figure in the cricket fraternity, and one that he claimed led to him being pushed out of county cricket.
A reaction on the disparate length of sentences served by Chris Lewis and Oscar Pistorius:
Good to see Chris Lewis released after a long sentence. Of course, it would have been much shorter if he'd shot his girlfriend...— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) June 9, 2015
A reaction from Lewis’ 1992 World Cup roommate:
Chris Lewis, an old England team mate if mine, is released from prison today. A fundamentally good guy, I wish him well— Derek Pringle (@derekpringle) June 9, 2015