Adam Lyth interview: Yorkshire CCC batsman on contract year, White Rose through and through and the influence of Ottis Gibson

ADAM LYTH has handed Yorkshire’s supporters an eve-of-season boost by declaring that he wants to continue playing for as long as possible.

The stylish opening batsman turns 35 in September and is out of contract at the end of the summer.

But Lyth has no intention of bringing down the curtain anytime soon and wants to prolong his Yorkshire career.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The left-hander’s record for the county speaks for itself: 11,085 first-class runs at 38.89; 3,754 one-day runs at 35.41, and 3,159 T20 runs at 26.32.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth is entering the final year of his contract (Picture: SWPix.com)

Throw in some brilliant slip fielding and more-than-useful off-spin and Lyth remains one of the finest players in the English game.

“I want to play for as long as I can,” he said. “I haven’t got a number or an age in my mind. I’m still fit and agile and can hopefully score many more runs for the club. I haven’t got an eye on retiring anytime soon.”

Along with Gary Ballance, to whom one wishes a speedy recovery from his mental health challenges and a return to action as soon as possible, Lyth has been a mainstay of the Yorkshire batting for over a decade.

The Whitby-born player, with the cover drive from heaven, could be especially valuable now as Yorkshire look to put behind them a turbulent few months.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth wants success across the formats (Picture: Tony Johnson)

“I’m hopeful that [contract] negotiations will start pretty soon and that I can carry on playing for Yorkshire,” he said.

“Nothing as yet has happened on that front, and I’ve just got to churn out as many runs as I can for the club and do my best for the lads.

“I’d like to think that my career for Yorkshire has been pretty good, and hopefully the coaching staff and everyone wants me around for many years to come. I’m Yorkshire through and through and I still absolutely love playing for Yorkshire.”

That coaching staff – completely overhauled after recent events – has a difficult task on its hands as Yorkshire chase their first silverware since 2015. Lyth has been impressed with what he has seen so far with everyone having no choice now but to crack on with life.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth celebrates taking an acrobatic catch to dismiss Sussex's Tom Haines from the bowling of Dom Bess last season (Picture: SWPix.com)

“Obviously a new coaching staff’s come in and the coaches have all integrated well,” he said. “We’ve only known them a short period of time but they’re working very, very hard, obviously like our old coaches did, and they’ve all fitted in really well.

“Gibbo [head coach Ottis Gibson] has come in here with a fantastic resume, and he’s put down the things that he wants from us players. I’ve worked with him a couple of times in the past – he was sensational when he was bowling coach for England – and he’s very positive.

“Gibbo is relaxed and focused, he knows what he wants us to achieve and what he wants from us as a group, and we’ll be doing our best for him. He’s very experienced in cricket, he’s played a lot of county cricket too so he knows how it works, and he’s looking forward to the season just like us.

“We haven’t seen a great deal yet of Goughie [managing director of cricket Darren Gough] because he’s been more in the background, sorting things out. But, when he has been around the lads, he’s been great value, too.

“It’s been a difficult time for obvious reasons, but it’s all systems go now and we can’t wait for the start of the season and hopefully we can have a fantastic summer.”

If Lyth can start this summer as he started the last one, Yorkshire can only benefit in their efforts to surge out of the blocks.

Lyth’s first six innings in last season’s Championship were 52, 115 not out, 97, 116, 42 and 66, form that sparked talk of an England recall.

Looking back, Lyth admits that the chat which saw him spoken of as a serious candidate to add to the seven Test caps that he made in 2015 derailed him somewhat and his form tailed away during mid-season.

He finished strongly, however, with 153 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, and he is targeting more consistency in the coming months.

“I had a cracking start last year and it would be nice, this time, to carry that form on,” he added. “Unfortunately, I kind of went missing a little bit during the middle of the season for a few games and then managed to finish the summer quite well.

“I got a bit distracted, I think, with all the talk about England because I was chomping at the bit to carry on the good work and put myself in the shop window for an England call, so I won’t be making the same mistake if I start well again this year, that’s for sure.

“All I want to do is score a lot of runs for Yorkshire and I know if I do that the rest [England] will take care of itself.”

Lyth is bullish about Yorkshire’s prospects in all three competitions: Championship, 50-over and T20.

There was a sense of growing momentum during the past couple of years which supporters hope will now bear fruit.

“We’ve got some good experienced players and a lot of talented youngsters, so exciting times ahead,” he said. “We’re in good spirits at the minute and hopefully we can put some good performances in, starting next week.

“If we all stay fit and our overseas fire, then you never know. We’ve strengthened a lot in T20, too, and, on paper, it’s a very strong squad across all the three formats, but nothing is won on paper and we need to work hard to achieve success.”