When you mention Saddleworth Moor to Kyle Hogg, a broad smile breaks out across his face: I'm from the Oldham area, and Saddleworth is a nice part of the country. It's near to where my mum lives, and it's nice for chilling out and walking around, he says.
Kyle is pictured here relaxing in the area, a frame of mind the 25 year-old all-rounder seems to be in at the moment.
2009 has started well for the son of former Lancashire and Warwickshire bowler Willie, and grandson of former West Indian legend Sonny Ramadhin.
Kyle has, in recent years especially, been a consistent performer for the Red Rose county in one-day cricket. A solid new ball bowler who gives it a clout with the bat in the lower-middle order.
But he has never quite been able to break into the County Championship side on a regular basis, playing just 26 four-day games – excluding this season - since signing on with the county in 2001.
This year things seem to be different for Kyle, who has played two out of the first three Championship games of the season. He also had a massive hand with the bat, scoring 60 in the recent win at Worcestershire.
He said: “The main challenge for me has always been to get into the four-day team. One-day cricket has always gone quite well for me - but I have managed to get into the last two Championship sides, and I have really enjoyed it.”
With the start he and his colleagues have had to the new season, it is easy to understand why Kyle is loving life at Old Trafford: “This has been my most enjoyable to date, by an absolute country mile,” he continued.
“It’s been amazing, and I have loved every minute. With Mooresy and Chappie in charge, they have been really good. I think the start to the season has perhaps been beyond a few people’s expectations. We look a completely different team to what we have done.”
When the all-rounder signed on at Old Trafford in 2001, alongside England pace bowler Jimmy Anderson, big things were expected. But a series of injuries and illnesses, including a mystery virus while on England under 19’s duty in Sri Lanka, have held him back.
“I went with the under 19’s and the England Academy to quite a few places,” he explained. “Everything started so well. But then the injuries hit me all at once within the space of two or three seasons.
“I had that illness in Sri Lanka, and I didn’t do very well with either bat or ball. But it seems to be such a long time ago now.”
Not only is there plenty of experience of his own to draw upon, but there is also a wealth of knowledge from dad and grandad to call on if he ever needs it.
While his dad played for Lancashire, so did grandad, Sonny, in 1964 and 1965.
“My grandad just tells me to enjoy it, but he is not shy of telling me what I am doing wrong,” said Kyle.
“My first memories of the game are probably watching my dad play at Edgbaston when I was three or four, maybe. He is just the same. He tells me to enjoy it, and prove to people that I can do well.”
Hogg junior has certainly taken on that advice.
Photos: Phil Garlington
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd