Gale backing ‘golden arm’ Lyth to be Yorkshire’s star turn

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth
Yorkshire's Adam Lyth
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ANDREW GALE believes that Adam Lyth is good enough to become Yorkshire’s second spinner – but only if he takes his bowling more seriously.

The county’s first-team coach said that batsman Lyth is under-rated as a bowler.

He feels that the 29-year-old can step up to more of an all-round role in the side – provided that he works harder on his off-spin.

“I feel that Lythy’s always been under-rated as a spinner,” said Gale. “I feel that if he takes his bowling a little bit more seriously, he could be a really good spinner for us.

“We’re constantly pushing him to do more in the nets, although it’s hard to find the time, given the schedule.

“His main job is to score runs, and I don’t want his training to detract from that, but he’s got so much more to offer with the ball as a second spinner, I guess.”

Gale’s comments come after Lyth demonstrated his skill with the ball in Yorkshire’s three-run win over Somerset at Taunton. The opening batsman took the final wicket when he had Jamie Overton caught at mid-wicket, having earlier trapped the dangerous Steven Davies lbw.

Lyth finished with 2-45 from 17.3 overs as Somerset were dismissed for 258 chasing 262, and he was preferred to frontline spinners Azeem Rafiq and Karl Carver in the vital closing stages.

Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance persevered with Lyth after Carver had taken 1-57 from 17 overs and Rafiq 0-37 from 12, with Lyth the one trusted to get the job done.

“I thought that Gary captained the game exceptionally well,” said Gale. “It was a stroke of genius (to stick with Lyth). I might have been tempted to take the new ball nearer the end and press the gamble button. But Gary got his decisions exactly right.“

Lyth’s performance took his career bowling record to 29 first-class wickets at an average of 42.

After a slow start to the season, he has lately returned to form with the bat, while his slip fielding is also another key asset.

“I thought that Lythy bowled beautifully against Somerset,” added Gale. “He’s a bit of a golden arm. Lythy seems to like the pressure of those tight situations.

“I’ve seen him do it a few times, that sort of stuff.”

Yorkshire’s decision to play two frontline spinners at Taunton, with back-up from Lyth, was influenced by the recent pitches at the County Ground.

Although Somerset spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach shared 12 wickets in the match, with 19-year-old off-spinner Bess taking 5-80 in the Yorkshire second innings, the surface did not turn as much as expected.

“I was a bit surprised,” said Gale. “Bess bowled really well for them, and he’s got a great record at Taunton.

“We played two spinners, and we perhaps went a bit left-field with our selection, leaving out Jack Brooks.

“But we haven’t had a great record at Taunton in recent years, and I just felt that we had to try and win in a different way from what we’ve tried to do in the past.”

On Yorkshire’s frontline spinners, Gale said: “I thought that Karl Carver did pretty well, considering that he hadn’t played any Championship cricket for a long time.

“Azeem didn’t quite hit his straps, but he’s still learning and is still young. It’s tough for a spinner with not much experience to go to Taunton with all the expectation and pressure, so he’ll come back stronger for that.”