Adam Lyth has hailed the hard work done by his rapidly developing opening partner Fin Bean after the pair shone together at the top of Yorkshire’s order this summer.
Left-handers Lyth and Bean formed a formidable alliance in the LV=Insurance County Championship, their first full campaign batting together.
The statistics make for impressive reading.
Between them, they contributed 2,002 runs to Yorkshire’s cause; Lyth 1,019 and Bean 983.
As for their opening partnership, they scored 1,278 runs in 20 innings at an average of 63.9. That included stands of 177, 113, 100 and 112 and others of 99, 94 and 98.
Their four hundred stands were more for that wicket than any Yorkshire opening partnership had managed in the previous six seasons combined (two in 2017, one in 2019 and none in any of the other seasons).
Lyth’s form was superb, and the 36-year-old has now posted 1,000 Championship runs in a season on four occasions.
But for Bean, he was particularly impressive given 2023 was the 21-year-old’s breakthrough year in Yorkshire’s first team having debuted at the back end of last summer.
“We’ve struck up a nice little partnership at the top of the order. I think it’s the second highest opening partnership in the county season,” said Lyth. “Hopefully this is something we can build on for years to come.
“I feel for Beany because he deserved those extra 17 runs (for 1,000). He’s played so well this year.
“I know he’s disappointed, but when he looks back on it he has cemented his place in this team and should be very proud of the way he’s played.
“I’ve had a few partners over the years, but the work Beany’s done over the winter on a few technical things and what he’s figured out, I think it’s testament to him that he’s cemented his place for a long time.
“We should have had maybe five, six or seven hundred opening partnerships if it wasn’t for me getting out.
“Especially at Scarborough (against Derbyshire last month, 59 and 100, we should have got a load more runs there and a few other times this season as well.
“I’ve been so pleased with and so proud of what Beany’s achieved this year. He should be so proud too. If he keeps doing that, you never know where the celling is for this boy.”
Bean started the season on a rookie contract having posted that record-breaking 441 for Yorkshire’s second-team against Nottinghamshire last year. But he has since had that into a new two-year professional deal.
“I think one of his main strengths is application and concentration,” continued Lyth. “He’s a fit young man, so his concentration levels have always been high. He’s very good square of the wicket and off his pads. He’s a good cutter of the ball.
“We’re completely different players, but we complement each other. I’m more of a driver of the ball, he’s more of a cutter and clipper through the leg-side.
“Myself and Leesy did a very good job for a number of years. I think it’s quite similar in a way that we’ve now struck a nice partnership.”
Lyth described his own 1,000 runs as a “proud moment”, and he owes his performances to a change in mindset.
“I’ve played really, really well most of the season and have hit the ball well,” he said. “I’ve gone back to my old style of playing. I know I get out a lot driving the ball, but it’s my best shot and the shot which gets me the most runs.
“In recent years, I’ve been a bit more tentative in trying not to get out. But my philosophy this year has been, ‘I might as well get 50, 60 or 70 and play to my strengths. If I get a good ball, I get a good ball’.
“I’ve been slightly more attacking than in previous years and have driven the ball as well as I’ve ever driven the ball. That’s something to look back on for next year.
“It’s helped that we’ve played on some pretty nice wickets near enough all year. That gives you a bit more confidence that you can play a more natural, attacking way.”
Both players posted three individual centuries, and have been praised to the hilt by team-mates, coaches and supporters alike. Captain Shan Masood at one stage said that aiding Bean’s development was part of Lyth’s legacy at Headingley.
Bean was voted as the Members’ Player of the Year this time last week, though couldn’t hide his disappointment at missing out on 1,000 runs when he was caught and bowled for 11 in the second innings against Worcestershire at Headingley.
“There was obviously frustration,” admitted the Harrogate-born star. “But speaking to Lythy and Gibbo, they said, ‘Try not to look at it from just that final innings, look at from a season’s point of view. It’s been a successful one’. It’s been really enjoyable all year.
“If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. I can’t look at it too intently.
“It’s more about making your hundreds count. When you get one, go on. It would have been nice to get a 150 or 160 somewhere and not leave it right to the end.”
So Lyth has already praised Bean. Now it’s time for Bean to return the favour.
He added: “Lythy’s ticked it all off. He’s opened the batting for the club for many years, he’s opened the batting for England. He’s done it all. To have him to learn off has been brilliant. I couldn’t wish for a better man to have at the other end.
“We have some good fun out there, and it’s just great to bat with him. He will come down from the other end sometimes if he sees me trying to crack on. He will say, ‘Calm it down’. I try to do the same with him. We’ve done well.”