YORKSHIRE first-team coach Andrew Gale believes Tom Kohler-Cadmore is a Test star in the making.
“There’s an England Test player in there, I think,” said Gale of the Yorkshire batsman.
If he’d turned two or three of those into hundreds, people would have been talking about him playing in the Ashes. That’s the challenge for Lythy, I guess, because 50s, 60s, 70s don’t win you games.Andrew Gale
“I want to push Tom because I think he’s got tremendous potential. I think he knows his white-ball game really well; red-ball game not quite so much.
“He’s still finding his game in red-ball cricket but, talent-wise, I definitely think he can play Test cricket.”
Gale’s vote of confidence comes after Kohler-Cadmore enjoyed a good season in all formats.
The 25-year-old was the club’s leading run-scorer in all competitions with 1,553, including 1,004 at first-class level.
Kohler-Cadmore is a versatile player, able to open the batting or fill the middle order.
His preferred role is opening; he hit 165 not out in his only Championship innings as an opener in the final game of the season against Warwickshire.
“Tom’s always said that he sees himself as an opener,” said Gale, who uses him in that position in white-ball cricket.
“I was pleased with the way he reacted against Warwickshire to opening the batting (regular opener Will Fraine was injured), and it’s given us another option.
“I guess with the success that Tom had in the middle-order last year, we felt that it was a case of don’t change something if it’s not broken.
“Harry (Brook) came back from Australia last winter and said, ‘I’m your man, I want to have a go at opening the batting’, which didn’t go quite right unfortunately, then Frainey was banging down the door in the second team, so we’ve got options.”
It represents a conundrum for the Yorkshire coaching staff, with Fraine having shown promise alongside established opener Adam Lyth before a knee injury curtailed Fraine’s season.
Eighteen of Kohler-Cadmore’s 22 Championship innings this summer were at No 4, but he played so well at Edgbaston that an opening partnership with Lyth in all formats must be tempting.
Lyth is also a player whom Gale believes can represent his country – in his case for a second time after he played seven Tests in 2015.
Gale feels that the 32-year-old could also do a job for England in T20 cricket, with the World Cup taking place in Australia next year.
“Lythy’s white-ball cricket, his T20, has gone to a different level in recent times,” he said. “I’m surprised no-one’s talked about him playing for England.
“He still has a huge amount to offer in red-ball, too; he was potentially two knocks away from playing for England this year if he could have converted some of the seven fifties he scored into hundreds.
“If he’d turned two or three of those into hundreds, people would have been talking about him playing in the Ashes. That’s the challenge for Lythy, I guess, because 50s, 60s, 70s don’t win you games.”
Although Rory Burns has grabbed his opportunity opening for England, the Test opener slots are not set in stone.
Burns is still in the infancy of his international career, while the highly-rated Warwickshire batsman Dominic Sibley awaits his debut.
Lyth and perhaps Kohler-Cadmore are potentially a run of scores away from getting a crack in those slots themselves.
For as well as championing Kohler-Cadmore, Gale has seen a renewed appetite this season in Lyth, who recently passed 10,000 first-class runs for Yorkshire.
“Lythy’s still a realistic shout for Test cricket… why not?” said Gale.
“I felt that when he got left out by England a few years ago he probably lost that appetite for it to get back in, lost a bit of confidence, but I saw a change in him this year, the determination that he wanted to have a good year in red-ball because he believed he could open the batting again for England.
“As I say, the disappointing thing for Lythy is that he didn’t convert his fifties into hundreds, and I think he just needs to be a bit more disciplined.
“I feel he’s given his wicket away a lot when he’s been in because, fair enough, opening the batting in England is hard work and if you get a good ball early on in your innings and you get out. These things happen, but if you get in like he has done you have to cash in and make big scores.”
Ashes star Steve Smith heads a star-studded overseas contingent throwing their hats into the ring for the inaugural draft of The Hundred.
England’s centrally-contracted Test players will be the first to be allocated when the eight franchises are formally unveiled tomorrow, with the rest of the squads being determined on October 20.