ADAM LYTH is set to become England’s 666th Test cricketer and it might be impishly said that there is hunger in the beast as he told how a successful debut against New Zealand next week could help him cement his Ashes place.
The Yorkshire batsman – a devilishly good cricketer with heavenly flair – is poised to finally make his debut at the highest level at Lord’s on Thursday after being overlooked for all three Tests in the West Indies in the type of decision that did for coach Peter Moores.
Lyth is poised to open the batting with captain Alastair Cook in the first of a two-match series that concludes at Headingley from May 29.
The 27-year-old left hander stressed that he would take it “one game at a time” but admitted that he has half an eye on the Ashes series starting on July 8.
“I’m over the moon,” said Lyth. “I’m sure there will be a lot of nerves on Wednesday night, and I’m looking forward to the challenge in what will be one of the proudest moments of my life.
“It will be a challenge against a very good New Zealand side, and although I will take it one game at a time, I would love to play in the Ashes, so that’s at the back of my mind as well.”
Lyth is set to become Cook’s sixth opening partner since the retirement in 2012 of Andrew Strauss, who sat in on the selection meeting in his new role as England’s director of cricket.
None of Nick Compton, Joe Root, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson or Jonathan Trott lasted more than nine Tests in the role, with Trott’s retirement after the West Indies series belatedly handing Lyth his chance.
Lyth is one of two uncapped players in the 12-man squad along with Durham pace bowler Mark Wood.
Root, the new vice-captain, and Gary Ballance are Yorkshire’s other representatives, but there is no place for Liam Plunkett, who was dropped by the club for missing a training session and a photocall last week, or leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
James Whitaker, the Yorkshire-born national selector, is a firm admirer of Lyth and said he fully deserves his chance.
“Adam Lyth has waited patiently for an opportunity with England having performed consistently for Yorkshire and England Lions in the last year,” he said.
“He fully deserves his chance to cement a place in the side at the top of the order.”
Squad: Cook (captain), Lyth, Ballance, Bell, Root, Moeen, Stokes, Buttler, Jordan, Broad, Anderson, Wood.