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This was one of my better Christmas presents and it has kept me going for a good few nights as my bedtime book. Trouble is, like a lot of folk, I only manage a few pages a night before I drop off to sleep, so it's nice to have a dip in and out of a book like this to read in bed.
For those who don't know, Bumble is the nickname of David Lloyd who has become a very well known cricket commentator and a permanent member of the Sky Sports cricket commentary team, as well as writing in the Daily Mail, featuring on Cricinfo and earning a bob or two for his retirement through being what I imagine will be a very entertaining after dinner speaker. This book is also introduced to us as something that will swell the coffers of the David Lloyd Retirement Fund!
Prior to his most recent career chapter as a cricket commentator, he was manager of the England cricket team, a fully qualified umpire and a professional cricket player from Lancashire who has played a number of times for England. Being a very straightforward Northern bloke, with no airs and graces, he enjoys popular appeal amongst his many fans and admirers and is loved by most who love cricket.
He is very much a one off and his insightful, thoughtful and honest comments on the game are appreciated by most. It is the fact that he is so different from the rest of the commentary team that endears him to his audience. Idiosyncratic, quirky and humorous he speaks with great knowledge and passion about the game.
This book is a gentle stroll through many of his cricket experiences to date and is broadly divided into 3 sections, entitled In the Box, In the Middle and In the Blood. David Lloyd was assisted in writing this book by Richard Gibson; however, it most definitely is written very much in the Bumble style and there is no familiar taint of the ghost writer present.
Those who already know and love David will very much appreciate this book. Those to whom he is a complete unknown will be a bit perplexed perhaps - you need to know him to love him, I think.
Although there is a loose structure to the book, David allows himself to be sidetracked as we all are in real life, so the book progresses much as many conversations do or in this case a monologue. Our minds do wander from one topic to another and David doesn't allow the conventions of writing to get in the way of spinning a good yarn and he will have spun a few in his time.
In a meandering literary journey in conversational style, he regales us with innumerable entertaining stories of people we all know, giving us fascinating information and titbits on the people he has met, the places he has visited and the things he has experienced throughout the later part of his life. What cricket lovers will love about this book is the fact that it is very much up to date.
David Lloyd is a tad eccentric but at the same time he is someone with whom we can all identify. You always get the feeling that he tells us what he thinks and not what he thinks is the right thing to say. This honest and often direct approach has landed him in hot water on several occasions, but I think we all prefer people to be straightforward and this is at the heart of his appeal as one of the characters of the English game, known and loved throughout the cricket loving world.
The hard-backed book is currently 3rd best selling cricket book on Amazon, beaten only by the Kindle version of the same book and Jonathan Agnew's affectionate tribute to Brian Johnston. It is published by Harper Collins and was released in May 2010. The cover price for the hardback is £18.99, but nobody ever pays that, do they? You can pick it up new at less than half that price.