Chris Lewis says he 'made wrong choices' after prison release

Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis last played professionally for Surrey in 2008

Former England all-rounder Chris Lewis says "wrong choices" led to him being jailed for cocaine smuggling as he was released from prison on Tuesday.

Lewis, capped 32 times at Test level, was convicted in 2009 and served less than half of a 13-year sentence.

He said money concerns in 2008 had led to him attempting to smuggle £140,000 worth of dissolved cocaine into the UK.

"I became afraid of what the future held, and at that point the thinking went awry," said the 47-year-old.

In an interview with the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) he 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."

Chris Lewis
Lewis's 93 Test wickets came at an average of 37.52

Lewis was born in Guyana but moved to Britain aged 10 and went on to make 189 first-class career appearances for Leicestershire, Surrey and Nottinghamshire.

His Test debut came in 1990, taking 93 wickets and averaging 23 with the bat over six years.

Despite playing his final first-class match in 2000, he attempted a return with Surrey's Twenty20 side in 2008, but was hindered by a hip injury.

Lewis and ex-basketball player Chad Kirnon were sentenced in May 2009 after being found guilty of carrying a liquid form of cocaine into Gatwick Airport on a flight from St Lucia.

"On a physical level jail has not been hard. It's a hard mental exercise to stop yourself from thinking negatively," said Lewis, who served his sentence at High Down prison in Sutton, Surrey.

"For 24 hours a day you're a prisoner. It's nice to be back - and I don't mean being outside - I mean back being me."

Lewis added he would be "100%" happy to work with the PCA to help prevent young cricketers from making wrong choices.