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pavel florin
ICC Cricket 360

Pavel Florin: The bodyguard who became a cult hero

ICC Cricket 360

Pavel Florin, the Romania all-rounder, shot to limelight when his unique bowling action in the European Cricket League attracted widespread attention on social media.

Florin, 40, who is the president of Cluj Cricket Club in Romania and a professional bodyguard, only took up cricket a few years ago. 

"I first started playing cricket seven-eight years ago," he tells ICC Cricket 360. "I was playing at an American Football Club when I spotted some people playing cricket. Before that I had only watched a few matches on TV. I asked them if they would let me bat a few balls.

Video cwc19 10 Sep 19
ICC 360 – Pavel Florin: Romania's unique cricketer

"One of the players complimented me and said that I could play for Romania. He said, 'You are a good batsman. You are the future of the national team'. I was in the right place at the right time."

Florin, who is now a regular part of the team, said that his online popularity came as a huge surprise. "I was at lunch when some of my friends came and told me I was making cricketing headlines. Later, a TV crew appeared and started asking questions. I told them how I felt about the criticism of my bowling style. Up until then no one had ever taken any notice of me, let alone wanted to interview me about playing cricket."

Florin takes his game seriously and is very passionate about cricket. By his own admission, his love for sports far outweighs his love for his professional job. "Every night I work as a bodyguard and look after people. But the reality is that I love sports and sports is my real job."

Florin has a reputation among his team-mates for taking fitness seriously: "We wouldn't be as focused on fitness as we are now with Pavel around," said Marc Pillich Wright, vice-president of Cluj Cricket Club. "He likes to organise two or three fitness sessions a week. We are not obliged to attend but we certainly are persuaded." 

While cricket is not widely played in Romania, they were granted Affiliate status by the ICC in 2013 and became an Associate in 2017. Cluj Cricket Club was part of the inaugural edition of the European Cricket League, which took place in July 2019.