Yorkshire’s left-handed opener Adam Lyth was believed to have been a whisker away from an England Test call-up ahead of the Ashes series in Australia in 2010/11 following a stunning summer in Yorkshire colours. Thankfully, at the end of 2015, he can finally reflect on being an Ashes winner.
After a mesmerising 2014 in the Championship, Lyth did not start the 2015 summer in a Yorkshire shirt, instead on tour of the West Indies in April and May as an unused member of the England Test squad.
He scored a staggering 1,489 runs with six hundreds, including two double centuries, and was widely honoured as county cricket’s best player of 2014.
Lyth finally got his Test chance for the start of the home summer in 2015 against New Zealand, scoring his maiden Test ton at Headingley, 107. He was a regular through the subsequent Ashes series, and has the game’s ultimate honour to show for it – an Ashes winner’s medal.
Lyth, who has played for England under 19s, is similar to team-mate Jonny Bairstow in that he could have been a footballer because he had trials at Manchester City as a teenager. His brother Ashley played non-league football for Scarborough.
Sticking with Scarborough, it is at the cricket club on North Marine Road where Lyth grew up and still plays when county commitments allow.
His near miss with England came as a result of a stunning 2010, in which he became the first man to score 1,000 first-class runs in the season. He finished the campaign with 1,509 runs from 16 matches, including three tons. Lyth toured Australia and the West Indies with the Lions that winter.
His summer of 2011 did not hit the same heights, and he even found himself out of the Yorkshire team, but he returned to form the following summer as he carried his bat against Leicestershire at Grace Road with an unbeaten 248.
In 2014, he eclipsed his achievements of 2010 thanks to a number of reasons, most notably a determination to be ruthless at the crease.
In 2015, he played all seven home Tests against Australia and New Zealand.
2003 – Captained Yorkshire under 15s in a drawn Roses match at St Annes and scored an unbeaten 102 off 148 balls from number three. Adil Rashid opened the batting.
2004 – Debuted for Yorkshire seconds at the age of 16 whilst still playing in the under 17s County Championship.
2006 – After scoring a hundred for England under 19s in a Test match against India at Canterbury in July – current India Test star Virat Kohli did likewise – he made his first-team bow for Yorkshire in a 40-over match against Hampshire in September, scoring 23 from number five.
2007 – Another Yorkshire debut followed, this time in first-class cricket against Loughborough University at Headingley, in which he batted three and made an encouraging 31 under Andrew Gale’s interim leadership. It was a sign of things to come.
2008 – Maiden Championship ton came against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in July – a second-innings 132 – as part of a season’s haul of 645 runs, securing him the club’s Young Player of the Year award.
2009 – Smashed a brilliant 109 not out off 106 balls, including eight fours and four sixes, in a 40-over defeat against Sussex at Scarborough, but his appearances in Championship cricket were limited to four.
2010 – Made a stunning start to the Championship campaign, mirroring that of his team as they ran eventual champions Notts close. His first eleven matches yielded scores of 6, 67, 0, 90, 8, 84, 85, 47, 142, 93, 133, 98, 0, 100, 29, 84, 1, 75 and 42. Narrowly missed out on the magical 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May, but was capped in August on his home ground at Scarborough and called up by the England Performance Programme in October.
2011 – Struggled to replicate his form of the previous summer, just creeping past 550 Championship runs.
2012 – Turned heads with a special unbeaten 248 in a Championship draw against Leicestershire at Grace Road as 751 runs for the season were accrued. That knock meant he had posted the highest score by any Yorkshire batsman to carry their bat through an innings, while it was also the county’s highest individual score for six years. When congratulated by his team-mates afterwards with a ‘well done Lythy, you’ve just carried your bat’, he responded with ‘I know I’ve carried my bat, I’ve done it for about a day and a half!’
2013 – Lyth scored a century in a Championship haul of 730 runs. He was one of only three players to play all 16 matches, and even recorded best bowling figures of 2-15 with his part-time off-spin. He was also the county’s second leading run-scorer in 40-over cricket behind Gary Ballance with 397 runs from 11 matches at 44.11.
2014 – Double centuries in the Championship came against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road and Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford. The latter, a stunning 251, was just two runs short of the highest score by anybody in Roses cricket. He was named Yorkshire’s Player of the Year, winning similar awards from the PCA and the Cricket Writers’ Club. He was also named in England’s winter Performance Programme and Lions squads for their tours to Sri Lanka and South Africa. He had started the season by working on his concentration with Yorkshire’s sports psychologist Simon Hartley on the putting green at Wyke Golf Club in Leeds. Hartley set the challenge of knocking in as many two-foot putts without missing. The norm for a professional golfer is between 50 and 100. Lyth knocked in 213 – yet another double century of sorts!
2015 – Scored 266 runs in seven Test appearances, with one hundred. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to cement his place in the side for the winter series against Pakistan in the UAE. Still, he returned to Yorkshire colours at the end of the Ashes to clinch a second Championship title for the county. During the summer, he passed 7,000 first-class career runs.
Born25th September 1987
RoleLeft Hand Bat//Right Arm Offbreak
County DebutYorkshire v Hampshire, 17th September 2006
First ClassYorkshire v Loughborough UCCE, May 16th 2007