Yorkshire CCC 2018: Adam Lyth targets return to Test scene with England

THERE is no doubt as to what was the best individual performance of Yorkshire's 2017 season.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth: New targets.

It came on the night of August 17 when Adam Lyth made the highest score in English T20 history – 161 against Northants at Headingley.

Lyth’s innings, which comprised just 73 balls and included 20 fours and seven sixes, was also the third-biggest T20 innings in the world, helping Yorkshire to an English T20 record total of 260-4 and a thumping 124-run win.

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Small wonder that he watches the highlights back from time to time.

“It was a special night for myself,” he said. “I never would have thought I’d get 161 in a T20 match; I might have thought I could get a hundred one day, but not 161.

“It was a fantastic night, and I still watch it on record when I’m bored at home. Hopefully, I can do something like that again. I had a lot of fun that night.”

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Yorkshire team-mates Jonny Bairstow, left, Joe Root and Adam Lyth celebrate winning the Ashes. Picture: PA.

Lyth is a dynamic T20 performer. He really enjoyed the winter too, taking part in the Bangladesh Premier League and learning from the likes of Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum.

But the 30-year-old left-hander is one of the few who can do the business in all three formats.

And as much as he loves white-ball cricket, his first love remains the red-ball version.

“For me, T20 is fantastic, but the pinnacle is still red-ball and playing for your country,” said Lyth, who is looking forward to the start of the season after recovering from a minor calf injury.

Yorkshire team-mates Jonny Bairstow, left, Joe Root and Adam Lyth celebrate winning the Ashes. Picture: PA.

“There’s a load of money, obviously, in white-ball cricket – you’ve just got to look at what people are going for in the IPL. The top players are going for millions. You can see why people want to play white-ball cricket, but Test cricket is still the pinnacle and I still want to play international cricket.”

Lyth feels he has unfinished business at Test level.

He played seven Tests against New Zealand and Australia in 2015, scoring 265 runs at an average of 20, but he showed his quality with a hundred against New Zealand at Headingley and could yet force his way back into the side.

“I think I’ve got the game for it (Test cricket),” he said. “I think I showed that in the Test match against New Zealand at Headingley.

“Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I would have liked against Australia, but that was a few years ago now. Other people have got the shirt at the minute and good luck to them, and if I am going to get back in I’ve got to do it through bulk of runs and scoring big hundreds, which is how I forced my way into the team.”

Should Lyth win a recall, it would only benefit Yorkshire along the way, for whom he would need to churn out consistent scores.

He reflects honestly on his experience of international cricket to date.

“If I get picked again, I have to leave the ball better outside off-stump, which showed against Australia, but it was more the pace that they had,” he said.

“Shot selection wasn’t the best at times, but it gets magnified when you’re facing 90-95mph bowling, and I was probably a bit tentative rather than playing my natural game.

“There were a few shots in there that, looking back, I’d love to have played again, but that’s the sport at the highest level; it’s not easy.

“Hopefully, if I churn out some big scores for Yorkshire, I’ll get another chance, but, if I don’t, I’ve played seven Tests, I’ve got a Test hundred and I’ve won an Ashes, so no regrets.”