Lars spent his formative years in the prosperous suburb of Arkley, and now boasts a large flat near a women's prison. But as these precious photographs show, the journey from the harsh world of rural Sweden in the 1960s to cricketing glory in the new country was a tough one.


The Johansson family, Västerås , 1967.




1960's Sweden was still a largely pagan nomadic society, away from which cricketing talent was often the only passport..





Cricket held a profound place in ancient Swedish society, both in war.....





....and in peace.


Here the famous 1042 game between Sweden and Norway, in which, despite the prayers of the Bishop of Trondheim, last man Leif Garretsson was bowled by Sweden's underarm off-break legend Helgi the Sharp to win the series and the prize (Scunthorpe that year ).




Powerful warriors and chiefs were often buried with their great war bats in eleborate ceremonies..



...climaxing in the great Longship funerals of the 11th c.




So when one day in the forest Farmor's Far (Great Grandfather) Johansson had a vision of great power, it's significance was unmistakable.




The Spirits of the forest had spoken. Blessed with the ancestral bat, given their first sunhats.....




..they made the perilous journey through the snowy wastes...




..until with just their longbats and a tin each of Surströmming*, Lars and Jan were sent on the long voyage to England, the new world, to seek fame and fortune with bat and ball.



*



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