It s the only injury in cricket which brings tears to your eyes, says former England batsman David Lloyd, remembering a horrific Perth Test 33 years ago when a good-length ball from Jeff Thomson clattered into his unmentionables . Lloyd, who later went on to coach England before settling into a commentary job, remembers the day vividly, when fielders chuckled despite him writhing in pain. Even now I lose my voice every December .
Opening the batting on a lightning quick WACA pitch, Lloyd had moved on to 17 in the second innings when the moment arrived. Thomson, an unknown commodity before the series but a terror once it got underway, nipped one back and found a most delicate target. The box that I was using at that time was totally inadequate for the job at the time and it actually split, Lloyd recalled wide-eyed. All the contents of the inside of the box (let s put it that way) found their way through and the box itself snapped up. So everything that should have been inside the box were on the outside and the box had to be cut away before I could get back on the field. Thomson was obviously unsympathetic, waiting at the top of his run, but I couldn t continue. I was ushered off and only returned the next day.
But have the scars healed? How does he react when he sees modern batsmen getting struck? I think the current lot are fortunate to not be facing Jeff Thomson. If he hits you it can be serious trouble. The thing about today s box is that it s far more substantial than it was when we played. The one we used could be used as a soap holder. The water will drain out. The ball hit me and stopped dead it wasn t a glancing blow where it deflects to third man and you get a leg bye. This was full on and dropped straight in the feet.
Lloyd wrote letters to his mother during that series, one where England went down 4-1 after being dismantled by Lillee and Thomson. I remember writing a letter saying, I got a half-volley today for the first time in three months and have no clue what to do with it. All the rest have been bouncers . They were a far better team than us beat us 4-1. And a formidable West Indies followed us and got beaten 5-1. They were a good side Australia at that time.