Around the World in 80 Pints with Lancashire cricket legend David Lloyd
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 December 2018
Cricketer-turned-commentator David 'Bumble' Lloyd talks about Lancashire's hopes, the challenges facing the game, and his new book.
During more than 50 years in cricket David Lloyd has seen the sport from every angle. He’s been a player, captain, coach, umpire and commentator. And in recent years he’s added author to his CV.
His latest book, Around the World in 80 Pints, is part travelogue, part memoir, with anecdotes, stories and reminiscences gathered from his long career in the game – and even some cricket.
There are stories from dressing rooms and commentary boxes across the world, and the man known as Bumble – because of a less than flattering comparison with the Bumblies, characters in a 1960s children’s television programme – tells them well, with humour and an obvious love for the game and its characters.
Bumble’s career was book-ended by spells with home town team Accrington where he made his debut as a 15-year-old and returned after his time with Lancashire and England.
He spent 18 years with Lancashire, establishing himself as useful all-rounder and catching the eye of England selectors. He played nine Test Matches in the mid-70s and featured for the One Day side one and off until 1980.
Once he’d retired he coached Lancashire and England, before moving into commentary with BBC’s Test Match Special and then the Sky TV team where viewers have become familiar with his dry Lancastrian wit and excitable commentary style.
His first book, Anything but Murder, came out in 2000 and caused controversy for the criticisms he made about England players of the day – players he’d been coaching just a year earlier.
‘I thought after the first book that I needed to lighten it all up,’ he said. He’s certainly done that; the books that have followed – The World According to Bumble, The Ashes According to Bumble and the 2016 autobiography Last in the Tin Bath – have all been entertaining, light-hearted and written with the help of cricket journalist Richard Gibson.
His latest, Around the World in 80 Pints, follows the same format and he said: ‘He’s a mate, I’ve known for years. We know each other’s humour and we’ve had a bit of fun with it. We’d sit down for 45 minutes and we’d bounce off each other and have a lot of fun. It’s a lot of cricketing stories with my good mates, escapades and narrow scrapes, along with a bit of serious cricket.’
There was plenty of serious cricket at Old Trafford this year as Lancashire were relegated from the top flight of the County Championship but David is confident they’ll bounce straight back. ‘They had the two top bowlers in the country but they need to recruit - an experienced opening bat will be top of their list. I expect they’ll look to Australia for that position.
‘Three will be promoted next year and they need to be in that top three. Promotion is a must and I fully expect them to come back. We have some outstanding young players and this is the ideal time to play them – we have got young players coming through like Rob Jones, George Cavell, George Balderson and others who could benefit from playing in Division Two for a season.’
Cricket has changed hugely since Bumble hung up his bat, most notably with the growth of the T20 game, and the latest development could be even more revolutionary. Discussions are underway aimed at creating an even faster game which would appeal to broadcasters and would attract a new audience and more money to the cricketing coffers.
The 100 ball game has prompted much anguish among fans who believe it will undermine the traditional sport with its red ball, white flannels and gentle ripples of applause but Bumble said: ‘I’m 100 per cent behind the Hundred. I think it has been sold poorly. It’s a bit like Brexit, no-one really knows what’s going on.
‘The T20 Blast as it is has to remain because it provides the cash for the 18 counties. The County Championship is a loss leader – it’s vital for the production of cricketers but it doesn’t make the clubs any money, it costs them money.
‘The new competition has attracted an enormous broadcast deal with a satellite broadcaster and a free to air broadcaster. The money this generates will be distributed between the 18 counties and will safeguard red ball cricket. There is an alternative: we lose seven or eight counties.’
And he added: ‘When I was a boy I just played cricket and football. Manchester was a million miles away from Accrington but now I can be in Manchester in half an hour and I can be abseiling, climbing, skiing and doing any number of watersports. There are more opportunities to do things now and cricket needs to keep attracting people – players and supporters – and to find new ways of bringing money in. In 2003 when the T20 started, there were players who said it would never take off.
‘I have been in cricket 53 years and I have never seen cricket as strong before. The game will always evolve – in the same way that rugby has the sevens – it’s about giving people a choice.’
* Around the World in 80 Pints is out now, published by Simon and Schuster.