Dean Headley: How family friend Clive Lloyd helped ignite cricket career

The former England fast bowler recounts how the ex-West Indies captain played a central role in him joining Middlesex, which eventually led to international recognition

If they had put all their Test caps in the car, there wouldn’t be enough room for them to sit.

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was the driver, and the mentor. His passengers were Dean Headley, Carl Hooper and Phil DeFreitas.

Lloyd was driving the trio around England in the search for county opportunities.

It is fair to say his search was successful, putting them on the road to success.

"I bowled a lot of overs as a kid, lots of overs, but I grew quite a lot between the age of 16 to 18," Headley told The Cricketer. "I think it took time for my body to catch up so I was injured a lot at Worcester but they decided to release me.

Related - On Clive Lloyd and the Buxton summer of 1975, when snow stopped play in June

"I spent a season, with the help of Clive Lloyd, I went to um a little club called Leycett in the North Staffordshire league. Big heart, big club in the sense of the amount of teams that they put out but eight of the people in the first team by some way.

"It was a great time I took 80 wickets and 800 runs and then Clive Lloyd took me around a few counties and then Mike Gatting gave me an opportunity which I'll be forever grateful for at Middlesex."


Clive Lloyd, captain of the all-conquering West Indies team (Adrian Murrell/Allsport)

Now 79, Lloyd played in 110 Tests, scoring 19 centuries. He led West Indies in 74 Tests, earning a win rate of an extraordinary 49 per cent. He was a brilliant leader, although it helped to have destructive batters like Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge, and a battery of fearsome fast bowlers, including Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner.

Lloyd had known Headley’s grandfather, the legendary George, and father, the Worcestershire cricketer Ron.

Dean went on to play for Worcestershire, Middlesex and Kent. He played in 15 Tests, taking 60 wickets. He would have played a lot more but for injury.

Related - Facing up: Dean Headley on playing for England, reverse swing and taking up teaching

DeFreitas played for Derbyshire, Lancashire and Leicestershire but it was with England where he enjoyed his most illustrious cricket, collecting 140 wickets in 44 Tests.

Carl Hooper was a gifted West Indies batsman who didn’t quite do himself justice. He still made 13 100s in 102 Tests, and had county stints at Kent and, for a much shorter spell, Lancashire.

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