reader Steve Jones is the fifth winner of our My Favourite Cricketer competition for his entry on Warwickshire batsman Andy Lloyd

Andy Lloyd never had much luck. In fact, my A level Physics exam encompassed the whole of his Test career. Just after noon, I raced home to see how my hero’s first Test was going. On seeing that Andy was 10* retired hurt, I felt a sense of relief. At least he’s not out, I thought.

Down, but not out. It soon transpired that Andy wouldn’t be returning that afternoon, or even that summer. He had stooped into a short ball from Malcolm Marshall, and was struck on the temple, permanently affecting his vision. At least he has an average of infinity, I tried to comfort myself.

Andy’s next game was nearly a year later, and he returned in style – bravely scoring 150 for Warwickshire on the same Edgbaston pitch where he had been poleaxed the previous June. However, the England opportunity had gone forever (Lloyd remains the only Test match opening batsman never to have been dismissed).

He had first come to my notice in a televised Sunday League game in the late 70s - an appearance unfortunately notable solely for a dropped dolly.

By 1980, he was an established member of the team that claimed the John Player League title. The next few years were painful for Warwickshire supporters as our weak and ageing attack, and a lack of athleticism in the field saw mammoth totals from Lloyd, Kallicharran, Amiss, Humpage and the Smith brothers frequently exceeded by the opposition.

Two years went by without a Championship win. Embarrassing performances in two one-day finals did little to alleviate the pain, and when 44-year-old Norman Gifford was appointed captain following the retirement of Bob Willis, there seemed little hope of an exciting future. At least Andy was appointed vice-captain, and the seeds of the following decade’s triumphs were being sown.

He succeeded Gifford as captain in 1988, and a young, exciting team began to emerge. Warwickshire reached Lord’s in 1989 after slaughtering Worcestershire in a semi-final at a packed Edgbaston. Champions Worcestershire’s superstars were skittled by an attack featuring Donald, Small, Reeve, Munton and the Smiths. Suddenly, this was a very different Warwickshire.

Far from the capitulation of the two previous finals, a fearless young side overcame Mike Gatting’s Middlesex, with Neil Smith’s last-over six becoming part of Warwickshire folklore. Fairground Attraction’s ‘Perfect’ boomed out of the Warwickshire dressing room, aptly encapsulating Andy’s finest hour.

Two years later, Warwickshire were runaway leaders in the County Championship as the season entered September, yet poor weather and some ‘freak’ Essex victories would conspire to deny Andy and Warwickshire at the final hurdle.

At the end of 1992, injuries forced Andy into retirement, where he combined radio punditry and corporate hospitality with serving Warwickshire. His pride in Warwickshire’s dominance over the next three years, with six trophies and two runners-up places, must have been tempered by a longing for greater involvement, but compensated by the knowledge that he had left a wonderful legacy.

Andy became chairman of Warwickshire’s Cricket Committee in 2000, again presiding over an era of sustained progress. The last ever Benson and Hedges Cup was claimed in 2002, followed by the undefeated Bears Championship success in 2004.

However Andy’s bad luck was to strike again, as bankruptcy forced him to resign as chairman of the cricket committee in 2004.

It seemed a fitting end to a career dogged by misfortune.

Steve Jones wins a year’s free subscription to The Wisden Cricketer

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