DAVID LLOYD is relishing his chance to help fire Glamorgan to T20 Blast success.
The former Brymbo all-rounder has enjoyed a fantastic summer in both Championship and one-day cricket for the Welsh county, making three first-class centuries before starring over the past month in the T20 format.
He racked up a maiden first-class century against Cardiff MCCU back in April and didn’t have to wait long to reach a first-ever Championship ton as he posted 107 against Kent in May.
Lloyd has since backed that up with a second Championship century of the season, making 102 not out to help secure a draw at Sussex, but it is in the shortest format where the Wrexham-born all-rounder has really caught the eye in recent weeks.
Given the role of opener at the start of the T20 Blast tournament by head coach Robert Croft and skipper Jacques Rudolph, the 24-year-old was thrown in at the deep end in front of 16,000 spectators at The Oval to face Surrey, compiling a quickfire 31 to help ease Glam to an eight-wicket win.
A stunning knock of 97 not out off just 49 deliveries followed to help beat Kent in Cardiff, and he has since backed that innings up with scores of 81 (off 55 balls) in the 46-run home win over Sussex and 49 in the recent nine-wicket thrashing of Middlesex, prompting talk of an England Lions call-up within the cricket media.
“It’s been going really well and it’s been a great experience to open, but there’s a long way still to go this season,” said the former Brymbo ace, preparing to face Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl today, with Glamorgan well set to claim a quarter-final spot having won seven of their opening 10 T20 fixtures and boasting an impressive team run-rate.
“I’d said in our pre-season appraisal that I wanted to open in the T20s. I’m not a big hitter, so there wasn’t much point me going in at six or seven as I can’t whack the big sixes that some of our other players can.
“I can score quickly but I needed some time in the middle and it’s obviously working out quite well. I got the call off Rudolph to say I was opening and then we went to Surrey and got a good win under our belts. It was nice to bat there without much pressure as we’d kept them to such a low total and get a convincing win.
“The Kent game was reduced to 16 overs per side so I’d like to think I’d have got to three figures if we’d played for 20! But look, you’d take 97 not out all day in a T20 match and that was a really good win.
“Last year in the T20s I was quite nervous as you’re going out to face these international bowlers. But this year I’m playing my shots and I’m batting with confidence and a free mind.”
Glamorgan have been able to call upon South African paceman Dale Steyn and Australian quick Shaun Tait in the T20s and Lloyd admits it’s a big help having such experienced performers in the changing room, adding that Steyn’s hostile attitude towards batsmen on the pitch is thankfully not repeated behind closed doors!
“They are both really nice guys and both have been great to play with,” he continued. “Dale was very good to have in the changing room, he’s a nice bloke, completely different to how he is when he’s bowling.
“It just gives the whole team a massive boost to have one of the world’s best bowlers in our team, it makes everyone more confident going out there.
“We’re hoping for some faster pitches really for Shaun, then hopefully he can show his qualities.”
Lloyd will be back in four-day mode on Sunday when Glamorgan host Derbyshire at Colwyn Bay in Championship Division Two, and back down at number six in the order he is aiming to complete a fourth century of the year.
The former Darland High School pupil explained his first Championship ton was a ‘relief’, over three years after making his first-class debut in September 2012 away at Yorkshire.
“The first one in the university match it was just nice to spend time out in the middle and it gave me confidence to repeat it in the four-day games,” he added.
“Then the one against Kent was nice, especially as it was in a tough situation and helped to secure a draw. It’s even more pleasing to get a ton in those circumstances and to earn a good result for the team.
“It’s relief really more than anything. It’s taken a little while but once you get that first one you feel confident you can do it again, so to then get another at Sussex when it mattered was really pleasing.
“I’m quite a positive player so in each innings I’ve thought I need to be watchful but you’ve got to score when the bad deliveries come along.”