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 could finally reflect on being an Ashes winner.
Now, with 2020 on the horizon, he is chasing an England recall, has passed 10,000 first-class runs for Yorkshire and has been awarded a testimonial year by the county.
A rounded batsman, Lyth’s chances of an international return are not just limited to Test cricket. He could still play white ball cricket for England following a series of impressive innings for the Vikings, including a record-breaking 161 in the T20 Blast in 2017.
Lyth’s consistent form at the top of Yorkshire’s County Championship order earned him his first Test call-up, with him making seven summer appearances against New Zealand and Australia.
He scored his maiden ton against the Kiwis on his home ground of Emerald Headingley in his second Test in late May, although it unfortunately did not contribute to a prolonged run in the side.
The Whitby-born player, however, is confident he can return to the top level following an exceptional summer of 2016 in all three forms of county cricket, his blistering T20 knock against Northamptonshire in 2017 and more good form in 2018 and 2019.
A mesmerising 2014 in the Championship initially caught the eye, and he did not start the 2015 summer in a Yorkshire shirt, instead on tour of the West Indies in April and May as an unused Test squad member.
He scored a staggering 1,489 runs with six hundreds for Yorkshire, including two double centuries, and was widely honoured as county cricket’s best player in 2014.
His brother Ashley played non-league football for Scarborough, while Adam had junior trials with Manchester City.
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 early 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.
After his taste of international cricket in 2015, he returned to Yorkshire colours on a regular basis with some effect the following year. Lyth, a more than useful off-spinner with somewhat of a golden arm, topped 1,000 Championship runs and starred against the white ball, including two one-day hundreds in as many matches in June.
In 2003, Lyth captained Yorkshire Under 15s, a team which included Adil Rashid, before debuting for the second team the following year aged 16.
After scoring a hundred for England Under 19s in a Test match against India at Canterbury in July 2006 – current India Test star Virat Kohli did likewise for the visitors – he made his first-team bow for Yorkshire in a 40-over match against Hampshire in September.
Another Yorkshire debut followed in 2007, this time in first-class cricket against Loughborough University at Headingley, before he hit a maiden Championship ton against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2008, helping to earn him the club’s Young Player of the Year award.
He smashed a brilliant century in a 40-over defeat against Sussex at Scarborough in 2009 before his stunning campaign of 2010, which saw him capped in August.
His aforementioned 248 not out against Leicestershire in 2012 meant he had posted the highest score by any Yorkshire batsman to carry their bat through an innings.
His stunning form in 2014 earned him Yorkshire’s Player of the Year award, winning similar awards from the PCA and the Cricket Writers’ Club.
He had started the season by working on his concentration with Yorkshire’s then 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 as he could without missing. The norm for a professional golfer is between 50 and 100. Lyth knocked in 213 – yet another double century of sorts!
Lyth scored 266 runs in seven Test appearances in 2015, with that one hundred. He returned to Yorkshire colours in 2016, scoring his 20th first-class hundred and his second and third in one-day cricket.
In 2017, Lyth would have hoped for more runs in the Championship, although he was magnificent in the T20 Blast, scoring 535 runs from 12 appearances, including four fifties and one ton. He was Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer.
His 161 off 73 balls against Northants in August was the highest ever score in English cricket and the third highest T20 score in the world. He underpinned Yorkshire’s total of 260-4, just three short of equalling the world record score, in a thumping win.
It was an innings which earned him a contract to play in the Bangladesh Premier League for Rangpur Riders in November and December. They won the competition, although Lyth’s game time was limited behind Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum.
With Steve Patterson out injured in late 2018, he captained Yorkshire in a Championship clash with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, a high-scoring draw which sparked a good run of team form.
Lyth scored centuries in the Championship and the Royal London one-day Cup, a competition in which he particularly impressed with 433 runs from nine matches at 54.12.
He also scored 401 runs in 14 T20 Blast matches, helping to earn him a winter deal to play in the UAE’s T10 League just before Christmas.
The year of 2019 was a big one for Lyth. Although he did not score a century, he was consistent across all forms.
He passed 10,000 first-class career runs for Yorkshire and also became the county’s leading T20 run-scorer (2,619 at present), passing current coach Andrew Gale.
Sticking with T20, his off-spin bowling yielded career best figures of 5-31 in a defeat against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in August. He is one of only seven Yorkshire bowlers to have taken five or more wickets in an innings.
Lyth won the T10 in Abu Dhabi just before Christmas with Maratha Arabians and will play in the Hundred for Northern Superchargers in 2020, the year of his White Rose testimonial.
Updated January 2020
BornSeptember 25, 1987, Whitby, Yorkshire
RoleLeft-handed batsman/right-arm offbreak
County DebutYorkshire v Hampshire at Leeds, Sep 17, 2006
First ClassYorkshire v Loughborough UCCE at Leeds, May 16-18, 2007