Adam Lyth has pointed to both technical and mindset changes as the main reasons behind his fabulous start to the new county season.
The Yorkshire opener has altered his trigger movements at the crease and has also taken a freer approach to his batting as he closes in on 500 runs in the LV= Insurance County Championship.
Left-handed Lyth is only 12 runs away from a mark that will hopefully be passed when Northamptonshire visit Emerald Headingley in the fourth round of Group Three fixtures on Thursday.
In Championship cricket in 2021, he has posted scores of 52, 115 not out, 97, 116, 42 and 66. Furthermore, in two friendly innings, he recorded scores of 52 and 50.
His haul of 488 means he is the highest English run-scorer in the country this summer.
And he has helped Yorkshire to two wins and a draw from their opening Group Three games.
Lyth’s changes are more a return to previous ways rather than developing something new, and he worked hard on it during a winter spell of T10 and T20 cricket in Abu Dhabi and Pakistan in January and February.
“When I went away on that white ball tour, I knew I wasn’t going to play much,” he said.
“So I kind of did a bit of work on my red ball game, although it was with the white ball.
“It was just making my trigger movements a lot smaller, going back to my old movements.”
In a first-class career which has spanned the last 14 years and brought him 11,274 runs, Lyth enjoyed two standout domestic seasons in particular.
lythy09</a> is on ???? ????<br><br>The best cover drive in county cricket? ????<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OneRose?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OneRose</a> <a href="https://t.co/oxRQ0LmPhR">pic.twitter.com/oxRQ0LmPhR</a></p>— Yorkshire CCC (YorkshireCCC) April 19, 2021
In 2010, he scored 1,509 first-class runs, including three hundreds. And in 2014, he bettered that with 1,609 runs, including seven hundreds.
“I feel like I’m hitting the ball as well as those two seasons,” he said.
“It’s a shame it’s taken me that long to go back to that, but I feel I can play freely all around the ground off front and back foot, especially hitting down the ground a lot more. I also feel I can get into my drive a lot more, which is probably my strongest shot.”
So why has it taken the 33-year-old so long to revert back to those ways?
“Good question! I was doing ok,” he reasoned. “But not quite as well as I would have liked.
“So I watched a lot of footage, and my movements have been a bit bigger and not as consistent as I would have liked.
“It’s not a huge change, but I now feel I can play on both sides of the wicket without getting stuck and getting nicked off, as I was doing.
“My defence and my drives, I’m getting more into them rather than being off them a little bit.”
Lyth has Andrew Gale and Paul Grayson to call upon at Yorkshire for batting advice. But one of the advantages of being on the global white ball circuit is that you get access to more coaching resources.
Whilst in Asia, he spoke to his Delhi Bulls and Multan Sultans coach Andy Flower.
He said: “Andy is renowned for being one of the best coaches around, and I spoke to him about those trigger movements and also getting my mindset right.
“Playing the way I did in 2010 and 2014 was more about not worrying about getting out. You might as well try and score as many runs as you can before there’s a ball with your name on it.
“That’s the way I’ve approached it this season.
“But you can’t take anything for granted in this game. You can easily go two or three knocks without scoring any runs. I’ll just have to keep trusting the way I’m playing, and hopefully there’s more runs to come.”