I strug­gled with Eng­land, but my 241 against Es­sex made me happy

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - Gra­ham lloyd Lan­cashire and Eng­land bats­man

PLAY­ING six times for Eng­land is an hon­our I’ll never for­get – but I never felt com­fort­able enough to score runs at a level that was un­doubt­edly a step too far for my abil­ity.

My in­ter­na­tional de­but came in 1996.

I’d forced my­self back into the Lan­cashire team af­ter some poor form and got called up to play Pak­istan in a home ODI at Manch­ester.

I scored a cou­ple of runs, but my in­ter­na­tional fig­ures are ordinary at best – I av­er­aged less than ten and never felt like I was go­ing to score in that en­vi­ron­ment.

I’d vis­ited Lan­cashire since I was seven – my dad, David ‘Bum­ble’ Lloyd, was a big part of them so I watched from the chang­ing rooms be­fore start­ing play­ing.

Like him I played for Ac­cring­ton and made my first-team de­but at 14 be­fore sign­ing for Lan­cashire a cou­ple of years later. All the while I spent seven years play­ing win­ter cricket in Aus­tralia, so it was very full on.

I was play­ing against grown men but never felt daunted, and that es­cape from my com­fort zone helped when mak­ing my Lan­cashire de­but in 1988.

It was against Der­byshire, but play­ing against Michael Hold­ing was the vivid mem­ory – I only made 20 but was more than happy to get that many!

The fol­low­ing year I was in the one-day team and did quite well, made 1,000 runs and got se­lected to play for the Eng­land A team. That was a real break­through for me.

From there I pretty much stayed in the Lan­cashire side while hav­ing some very en­joy­able win­ters in the Eng­land set-up.

How­ever, two or three in­dif­fer­ent years fol­lowed in the mid-90s. I had poor form and, to be hon­est, I was young and didn’t train or prac­tise hard enough.

But then re­al­ity hit. I needed a good sea­son oth­er­wise I was out of a job, so that was a real eye-opener and I played some of my best cricket in the late 1990s while win­ning a lot of one-day tro­phies.

How­ever, with Eng­land I had a few fail­ures early on, didn’t hit the ground run­ning in in­ter­na­tional cricket and missed that bit of luck you need. But I was very proud to have had a go.

My fi­nal ap­pear­ance came in an ODI against South Africa in Dhaka in 1998.

My dad was the coach of Eng­land at the time, as he was when I was at Lan­cashire, but that never in­flu­enced me good or bad. I still look back on some ex­cel­lent mem­o­ries. A knock of 241 against Es­sex at Chelms­ford was the best I played, ev­ery­thing came off the mid­dle on a day when ev­ery­thing clicked.

I made 24 Cham­pi­onship cen­turies for Lan­cashire, three dou­ble-tons which was im­por­tant for me, but I was al­ways bat­tling to stay in the team. Re­tir­ing at 33 may seem young, but it was still a 16-year ca­reer of which I’m very proud.

It was a re­lief in some ways to re­tire, but I’m now an um­pire and it’s fan­tas­tic to have that ca­reer. I took the exam the year I re­tired in 2002, and since 2009 I’ve been lucky enough to be at the top in Eng­land which I en­joy hugely.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.