Cricket will feel emptier without David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd’s charm and comedy

Struck painfully amidships by Jeff Thomson at 95mph, David Lloyd's account of the day his voice turned soprano still brings tears to your eyes.

The protective box guarding his crown jewels was severely damaged on impact, yet somehow he managed to turn the traumatic salvage operation into unmissable comedy.

“We didn't need a doctor,” chortled the man known throughout cricket as Bumble. “We needed a welder to get this box and all its contents pulled apart. I lose my voice every February, and I put that down to Thommo.”

It would be easy to laugh about his momentary conversion to tennis – new balls, please – on the 1974-75 Ashes tour, where England were terrorised by Dennis Lillee and Thomson, if you weren't preoccupied with wincing.

But hilarious story-telling and deft one-liners have always come easily to Bumble.

“If this bloke's a Test match bowler, my backside's a fire engine,” he once scoffed at New Zealand's Nathan Astle – whose military-medium trundlers may not have been explosive, although his double hundred against England in Christchurch in 2002 was certainly incendiary.

Lloyd was also unimpressed when England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was injured playing football on the outfield, an hour before start of play in an Ashes Test at Headingley. Pertinently, he asked: “Do Manchester United warm up for the Champions League with a net?”

But the bard of Lancashire is also a master of self-deprecation, once revisiting his night out an oyster bar on the air.

“Apparently it puts lead in your pencil,” surmised Bumble. “I don't know about that – I think it only matters if you've got someone to write to.”

And he once informed Aussie legend Shane Warne he had popped to LA for the weekend.

“Wow – LA,” said Warne, with a glint of envy. “Yes,” replied Lloyd. “Lower Accrington.”

After 22 years as a cricket commentator and masterful comic timing, Lloyd has announced he is to quit Sky Sports. The airwaves will be poorer, and less fun, for his decision.

This week was already miserable enough for English cricket, with Joe Root's timid side 2-0 down in the Ashes. And now this.

Lloyd, 74, explained the commentary box feels “emptier” since the death of Bob Willis two years ago while David Gower, Ian Botham and Michael Holding have all left.

He was also hurt to be named in Azeem Rafiq's explosive testimony to a parliamentary select committee about racism in cricket.

Lloyd apologised promptly to Rafiq for comments in a “private message exchange with a third party” and admitted: “I deeply regret my actions.”

Although Sky announced they were investigating Lloyd's comments, he was thought to be considering his future in the commentary box before last month's events.

And around the world, he is revered for his anecdotal comedy which has kept viewers informed and brightened countless hours of rain delays.

Announcing his decision on Twitter, he said: "After 22 wonderful years with Sky Cricket, I've decided the time is now right to pass on the microphone.

“It's been an immense privilege to try and bring the sport I love into people's homes up and down the country.

"With the passing of Bob Willis and after the decision to move on by my good friends David Gower, Ian Botham and more recently, Michael Holding, the commentary box feels a little emptier. And so I feel it is time for me to do the same and move on to the next chapter.

"I leave the Sky box now in immensely capable hands led by my pals Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, Ian Ward and Rob Key.

"To those that follow, cherish the mic. Inform and entertain so the next generation can fall in love with this wonderful game."

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