'Not beautiful, I don't care, I love cricket' - Shane Warne and Jofra Archer back Romanian cricketer hailed as hero

Tom HomewoodAssistant Producer

Eddie the Eagle, Eric the Eel and now... Pavel the Puffin? Who can resist a lovable loser, especially in sport, and cricket has found theirs.

40-year-old Romanian cricketer Pavel Florin, who only started playing cricket eight years ago, was initially mocked online for his more than questionable bowling technique.

A disjointed run up like a man escaping hot coals, an unsightly and borderline illegal delivery, and a ball that seems to linger in the air for an eternity just crying to be smashed out of the ground by any half-decent batsman.

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Not quite the elegance we’ll see when The Ashes gets underway, with the likes of Jimmy Anderson ominously pacing in with a determined look in his eye.

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The professional bodyguard however, is now being dubbed cricket’s newest hero and has the support of Shane Warne and Jofra Archer after he said his love of the game outweighs any criticism.

Playing in the European Cricket League (ECL), highlights of the 40-year-old’s bowling went viral on Tuesday as he became an overnight sensation.

Florin, who is player and president for Romanian side Cluj Cricket Club and only started playing himself at the age of 32, was trolled online by many, before he told the ECL “maybe some say my bowling is not beautiful or not effective, but I don’t care, because I love cricket.”

This prompted a huge wave of support for Florin even from some of the biggest names in the game.

England’s Jofra Archer also offered his ‘respect’ to Florin, while former Australian coach Darren Lehmann added ‘I love the way you love the game’.

Cluj lost against French club Dreux in the inaugural ECL on Tuesday with Florin, who was even bowling with a fractured leg, going for 13 off of his over in the ten over format competition.

It was their third loss of the tournament and the first time he has featured with bat or ball.

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