LONDON, (Reuters) – Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis, recently released from prison, said yesterday that he hoped his mistakes and experiences could prevent cricketers from falling into similar traps.
Lewis was jailed in 2009 for 13 years for smuggling drugs into the country from St Lucia but served less than half his sentence.
Since being freed two weeks ago he has been working with the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA).
Lewis, 47, plans to speak to young county players at the PCA next year and also believes his experiences could help those coming to the end of their careers.
He was an outstanding cricketer, playing 32 tests and 53 one-day internationals, but after retiring in 2000 and attempting a comeback for Surrey eight years later, he says he became “a little bit lost”.
“Ultimately I got myself in a place where financially, and probably emotionally, I wasn’t in a good place,” Lewis told the BBC. “From that place I made really bad decisions.
“Over the years I have picked up quite a bit of experience through many things and to use that to aid young professionals or young people within my community is something that I would love to do,” he explained.
“I started off as an inner-city kid and moved into a sport that is predominantly middle class and the challenges that go with that you don’t always appreciate. That’s a place I can be of use.”
The worst of his mistakes was smuggling liquid cocaine into Britain and he was arrested in 2008.
“Being in jail can generate an awful lot of stress in many ways,” added the Guyana-born Lewis. “Sometimes a typical day was 23 hours locked up. That was really challenging.
“Work, on a personal level, is important. I have been in jail for a long time and I need to organise my life and put it back in a place where it’s actually manageable. I want to do that and actually be of some real use.”