Life as seen by Bumble

Ever walked into a city centre pub while there is an Ashes Test in town to find Sir Ian Botham sitting on a bar stool, discussing the quality of the ale with the locals?

Or maybe stumbled into a modest curry house late at night to find David Gower tucking in at the next table?

Thought not. But substitute David Lloyd for either of those two names from the Sky commentary box and there is a fair chance the answer would be 'yes'.

Lloyd, known to colleagues and viewers alike as 'Bumble', has a face every bit as familiar but where his on-screen chums might prefer to unwind away from public scrutiny, the garrulous Lancastrian has a list of favourite watering holes to make a beeline for once stumps are drawn and the on-air light goes out.

They are not the kind with soft, deep sofas and chic decor and fancy chefs catering for a well-groomed and well-heeled clientele. If you've frequented the Circus Tavern in Manchester or Whitelocks in Leeds, you'll know the kind of place that Bumble prefers.

And the thing with David Lloyd is that none of it is for show. He may have scored a Test match double hundred and been a successful England coach but if he comes across as an ordinary bloke who likes a laugh and a natter that's because he is precisely that.

It is a personality that permeates agreeably through the pages of Start the Car: The World According to Bumble, published by HarperCollins, which is not so much a cricket book as an anthology of Lloyd's observations, many of them focused on cricket, naturally, but wandering off on many a fascinating diversion.

There is a good deal about Accrington Stanley, for whom he once played under the name David Ramsbottom in the hope that Lancashire would be unaware of his double life, and bits about fishing, motorcycles, music and the possibilities opened up by Twitter, which he has embraced with such enthusiasm you wonder how he can possibly be 63.

The list of favourite pubs mentioned earlier is revealed on page 213 but there are serious passages, too, with some strong views on how English cricket failed to appreciate the potential of Twenty20, of which he is a fan, and on how, for all that Twenty20 might have given the game an adrenaline fix, Test cricket will never be surpassed as its pinnacle.

Bumble's thoughts are skilfully crafted by Richard Gibson, a freelance sports writer who was 10 years a cricket reporter for the Press Association, in 310 hugely readable pages. It is due to be published on May 27th.

Buy Start the Car: The World According to Bumble online.

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