Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth keen to Blast a T20 message towards England

IT would perhaps be easier for a tone-deaf pensioner to break into the Top 40 singles chart than it would for a batsman to break into England’s T20 line-up at present.

Adam Lyth of Yorkshire Vikings. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Even Joe Root, the England Test captain, is struggling to get a gig, and although the Yorkshireman does not have the explosive firepower of some of his colleagues, he is still a multi-dimensional talent with the ability to thrive in all three formats.

It perhaps explains why Adam Lyth, his Yorkshire colleague, has never got anywhere near England’s T20 side, despite being one of the most consistent players at county level.

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Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire first-team coach, is adamant that Lyth has what it takes to make the step up, and he is surprised that the left-hander has not been talked of as a possible contender for the T20 side in recent times.

England captain Joe Root. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

“I think Lythy’s T20 form over the last few years has been outstanding, and I’m surprised he hasn’t been talked up in and around the England set-up,” said Gale, whose Yorkshire XI take on Derbyshire at Emerald Headingley tomorrow and Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on Monday in a T20 Bank Holiday double-header.

“If you want a guy that goes in from the word go and can clear the ropes, then Lythy’s your guy in county cricket.

“He’s that senior player that we look up to in that format to get us off to a good start, and he’s done it now for us numerous times.

“He’s gone into this year’s competition full of form, and hopefully he can hit the ground running.”

Lyth, 32, is Yorkshire’s all-time leading run-scorer in T20.

The Whitby-born player has scored 2,619 runs in 111 T20 appearances for the club – 359 more than Gale himself, who is the second-highest scorer.

Lyth, who holds the record for the highest individual T20 innings in England, 161 against Northamptonshire at Headingley three years ago, still harbours hopes of playing international cricket again.

He played seven Tests against New Zealand and Australia in 2015, although he has yet to represent his country in white-ball cricket.

“Personally, it’s gone really well in T20 and I’m just concentrating on doing well for Yorkshire,” he said.

“It’s gone well for me on a personal note at the top of the order, and I just want to carry that on in this year’s Blast.

“With some rain around lately, I’ve been able to hit a lot of balls inside and work on my game, but it’s basically been fine-tuning.

“You’re not going to suddenly see anything too different from me in T20; you’re not going to suddenly see ramp shots in the first six overs, or anything like that.”

Gale said going into the competition that Yorkshire are desperate to win it for the first time having only twice reached Finals Day in its 17-year history.

Lyth echoed his coach’s sentiments, although Yorkshire are hampered by the absence of four England players, while they cancelled the contracts of their overseas stars due to the pandemic.

“It’s definitely been frustrating from a team perspective in T20 in recent seasons,” added Lyth.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked out for us, and we know that we need to do the business.

“We’d definitely like to experience another Finals Day; we’ve been to two and it would obviously be nice to get to a third. Hopefully, we can get on some sort of roll and get ourselves there this year.”

Yorkshire’s hopes of making a winning start in the North Group were dashed when rain washed out their opening match against Notts on Thursday. No play was possible at Headingley, with both teams taking one point for a no-result.

Better weather is forecast for the Bank Holiday, with the 10-match group stage followed by the quarter-finals and Finals Day.

The top two teams in the three regional groups, along with the two-best third-placed sides, advance to the last eight.

“We’ve got to play it a game at a time and see where it takes us,” said Lyth.

“If we don’t have many England lads, it’s a good opportunity for our younger lads to get some exposure and some sort of experience playing T20.

“I’m not going to say that we’re going to go out there and we’re going to win the tournament, but we’re going to try our best, and if our best is good enough to get to Finals Day then that’s fantastic.

“But one game at a time and, hopefully, if we get on a decent run, you never know – most batters are in good form, most bowlers are in good form, and it’s just a case of backing our skills, enjoying it, and trying to have a bit of fun.”

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Thank you

James Mitchinson