In this writer’s statistical preview of the 2019 season, which was on this website from the end of last March, it was stated that ‘it could well be a very significant year for Adam Lyth’.
This has subsequently been borne out and it did not take Lyth long to notch up the milestones. On April 11 at The Ageas Bowl, Southampton he made a score of 67 on the first morning of Yorkshire’s Championship game against Hampshire and when he had reached 28 he completed the grand total of 10,000 runs in first-class cricket for all teams.
Three months later the T20 season got under way and the second scheduled match was at Chesterfield against Derbyshire (the first was abandoned) on July 20 and saw Lyth needing just 21 runs to become Yorkshire’s leading scorer in the format. By coincidence Lyth had reached exactly that score – from only 12 balls – when he was dismissed by West Indian Test bowler Ravi Rampaul. By the end of a personally successful campaign Lyth was more than 350 runs ahead of his nearest rival. Yorkshire’s first-team coach, Andrew Gale, was the previous holder of the record and their statistics are compared as follows:
MOST RUNS FOR YORKSHIRE IN T20 MATCHES
Neither player need be worried about their total being overtaken and having to move down a place in the listings for some time to come; Gary Ballance (1,390) heads the chasing pack and although Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan and David Willey are not much further behind him, it may be that Tom Kohler-Cadmore (1,116) is the most likely to get close to whatever target Lyth may eventually set.
(It has to be remembered that the quality of Lyth as a T20 player is exemplified in the fact that he set the record for the highest innings in England and the highest by any England-qualified player – 161 against Northamptonshire at Headingley – in 2017 and the score has yet to be surpassed. One record which this writer was not aware of until very recently occurred as an integral part of this innings. By the end of it he had broken the record for the most balls faced – 73 – by an England-qualified player in a T20 match in the British Isles. Aaron Finch, who is of course Australian, faced 79 balls when playing for Surrey against Sussex at Hove in 2018 but scored only 131 not out and he is the only batsman ahead of Lyth for a match in Britain. The England-qualified batsman nearest to Lyth’s record is Michael Lumb; he faced 69 balls when scoring 124 not out for Hampshire against Essex at the Rose Bowl in 2009.)
Two games and five days later and Lyth took a catch off the bowling off Jack Shutt to dismiss Lancashire’s Steven Croft at Headingley. This gave the fielder a ‘first’ and, therefore, a record which can never be taken from him. The catch was his 50th in the format for Yorkshire and enabled him to maintain his pre-eminence amongst the county’s fielders, including, surprisingly, the wicket-keepers as the following shows.
MOST FIELDING DISMISSALS FOR YORKSHIRE IN T20 MATCHES
53 – A Lyth; 43 – GS Ballance; 41 – TT Bresnan; 40 – RM Pyrah.
(The leading wicket-keeper is Bairstow with 35 dismissals (27 ct, 8 st).
Lyth had to wait until September 10 for his final record of the season and this received a considerable amount of publicity because when he reached 15 against Somerset at Headingley he became the first batsman to score 10,000 first-class runs for Yorkshire whose career has been entirely within the 21st century. Not only that, he is the first to pass the target whose whole career has been in the Championship’s two-division era and only one of his 13 seasons have been spent in the second division so a huge proportion of his career has involved facing up to bowling attacks of a high standard. It is interesting to compare his figures with the other most recent players to achieve similar heights.
10,000 FIRST-CLASS RUNS FOR YORKSHIRE
(most recent instances)
It cannot help but be noticed that Lyth has the best average – despite having spent so much time in the first division and as an opening batsman. In fact of the eight players to have achieved the feat who all began their careers after 1980 only Martyn Moxon has an average higher than that of Lyth.
So, what is the next mountain for Adam to climb? Although, by his own high standards 2019 was a moderate season for him, a total of 804 runs in the Championship put him in the top ten of the first division’s top scorers. However, he needs just 640 runs to achieve a total of 10,000 in that competition and will obviously hope to score well beyond that in the 2020 season.
Between them, Lyth and Tim Bresnan hold all Yorkshire’s aggregate records in T20 cricket. Lyth’s – for batting and fielding – have already been mentioned. Bresnan has played in most matches – 118 – and taken the most wickets – also 118. Both players will be hoping to extend these records in the forthcoming season. Bresnan also needs to take just four wickets in the Royal London Cup to become the tenth Yorkshire player to take 200 wickets in all List A cricket. A total of 3,000 runs is Gary Ballance’s target in List A cricket; he needs 147 more runs to achieve this target.
All Yorkshire supporters will wish these players well as they approach these targets, but especially Lyth in his very well-deserved testimonial year.