How long did it take for a 7-year old Lloyd Pope to get leg spin? “The first ball he bowled”
Australian cricket has a new cult hero. He has long red hair, a mean wrong’un and his name is Lloyd Pope.
In just his second game of first class yesterday, he became the youngest bowler to take seven wickets in a Sheffield Shield innings. He took 7/87 off 22 overs for South Australia against Queensland at the Adelaide Oval.
No one was prouder than his father Myles who described the performance as “surreal” on Macquarie Sports Radio Mornings.
The 18-year old did not always bowl leg spin. Myles Pope revealed that his gift of a Shane Warne “Spin King” ball to his son changed the course of Lloyd’s cricketing career:
“He was seven, maybe seven and a half. In fact at the time he was a medium pacer.”
But the youngster didn’t take long at all to master the notoriously tricky art of leg spin:
“Lloyd right from day one, the first ball he bowled to me, he was mimicking a few bowlers – Brett Lee, Lasith Malinga – and he was bowling to me and he did the Shane Warne. You know the predatory stalker. He swung the arms and he came in and he bowled. And it landed nicely and moved a bit off the pitch. And I remember saying to him ‘show me that Shane Warne one again’ because right from the word go he was able to do that,” Mr Pope said.
Despite some initial misgivings, his natural talent made it inevitable he would become a leg spinner:
“He didn’t really want to become a spinner initially. There was a bit of resistance in the family but he quickly took to it and in his first match he took 6 wickets for Barren River in Queensland – for four runs if you don’t mind. He was eight at that stage and he looked at me and goes ‘maybe there is something in this spinning Dad’ and he was away after that.”
However the young star doesn’t get away with anything at home, with Myles Pope saying, “He does his chores at home, there are no celebrities in our household.”
While there are rumblings about the redhead being destined for the Australian team, his Dad isn’t entertaining ideas of that happening anytime soon, “There’s no way he’s thinking about those things. He won’t be looking far ahead at all.”