Cricket: Lees can see a bright future for himself and Yorkshire

Alex Lees.
Alex Lees.
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ALEX LEES believes Yorkshire can build a dynasty of success after the club’s near-miss in last season’s County Championship.

Yorkshire finished second to rivals Durham, their second-best finish for 30 years.

Lees, who was Yorkshire’s “find” of the season after forcing his way into the four-day team, feels there is no reason the club cannot go one better next year – and enjoy a sustained run of success.

“I’d like to think that we’ll be pressing for the top spot for the next few years with the squad that we’ve got,” said Lees, the 20-year-old opener.

“We need to build on what we did last season, and the season before, and to keep moving forward as much as possible.

“Last season, we played brilliant cricket virtually all year but Durham were outstanding and thoroughly deserved to win the Championship.

“In other years, we may have been 30-40 points clear with the quality of cricket that we played, but we showed to everybody that we can play.”

Lees certainly showed that he can play, scoring 500 runs in the competition at 45.45.

The left-hander, who recently visited Australia with the England Performance Programme, displayed a splendid temperament and technique.

Lees also proved himself capable of mammoth scores.

The highlight of his season was a career best 275 not out against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, the joint 11th-highest individual innings in Yorkshire’s history.

“I was fortunate that for those couple of days at Chesterfield I felt that nobody was going to get me out,” he reflected.

“I probably won’t experience that many more times, if ever, in my career, and I just wanted to cash in while I could.

“The reason I was able to bat for long on that occasion is because I enjoy batting – simple as that.

“It’s the old cliche of one ball at a time, and if you’re feeling confident about your game then the time goes really quickly and a nine, 10-hour innings doesn’t seem that long.”

Lees took his chance last season after Joe Root’s elevation to the England side created a vacancy at the top of the order.

Now he is determined to help Yorkshire find that extra few per cent that could make all the difference in helping them win the Championship next time.

“It’s tricky to know precisely how to find that extra five per cent or whatever it would need to win the Championship next year, as opposed to coming second,” he said. “I think if anybody knew what the formula was there would be a lot of wealthy people out there. “But as long as we stay as a good team unit with a good team ethos and we work hard for each other, I think we can do it.

“Cricket is a simple game at the end of the day, and we just need to keep doing the simple things right.”

Lees gained good experience on the EPP tour Down Under, and although he would have liked more than 56 runs in the two fixtures played, he settled in well and made a favourable impression.

Lees’s progress has led to his selection – along with Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow – for the England Lions tour of Sri Lanka in February and March.

Lees will be looking to impress former Yorkshire pace bowler and current Sussex coach Mark Robinson, who is leading the Lions party.

“I’m well aware that I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me and that I need to be consistent for Yorkshire first,” he said. “Obviously, Yorkshire is a big county and people are always talking about who might make the step up one day, but I know I’m at least a couple of years away – minimum –from anything like that.”

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Lauren Winfield, batting in her home city, hit 58 off 44 balls against Western Storm. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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