Yorkshire CCC’s proud Adam Lyth fully deserving of his latest milestone - Chris Waters

THE HISTORY of Yorkshire County Cricket Club is littered with the names of famous opening batsmen.

By Chris Waters
Saturday, 14th May 2022, 7:05 am

Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe; Len Hutton; Geoffrey Boycott; Martyn Moxon and Ashley Metcalfe; Michael Vaughan – the list is long and echoes down the years.

One man still carrying the torch as proudly as anybody is Adam Lyth, who is currently making his 200th first-class appearance.

For to the above list, by no means exhaustive, deserves to be added the name of a player who remains a wonderful servant to the White Rose club.

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ENTERTAINER: Yorkshire's Adam Lyth of Yorkshire cuts through cover point against Essex at Chelmsford last week. Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

“It’s a nice milestone to reach,” said Lyth, who has played 185 of those matches in a Yorkshire shirt to go with 15 international/representative appearances.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would play 200 games. Hopefully there’s many more to come. I still love the game, I still love competing. We’ve got a fantastic set of lads here and I want to keep playing for as long as I can.”

Since making his first-class debut in 2007, Lyth, 34, has produced some outstanding innings in all formats of the game – from a career-best 251 against this week’s opponents in a Championship fixture at Old Trafford in 2014, to an English record T20 innings of 161 from 73 balls against Northamptonshire at Headingley in 2017.

Indeed, not many openers, when you think about it, can flit so impressively from one format of the game to the other, with Andrew Gale, the former Yorkshire first team coach, once saying that Lyth had more natural ability than any of Yorkshire’s England brigade – Joe Root included.

Yorkshire's Adam Lyth celebrates his maiden Test century at his home ground of Headingley for England against New Zealand in May 2015 Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Briefly, in 2015, Lyth joined the elite himself when he made seven Test appearances against New Zealand and Australia.

They were two fine attacks and, despite scoring a hundred in the Headingley Test against the Kiwis, Lyth was one of many who found himself discarded during a frenzied merry-go-round to find a regular opening partner for Alastair Cook.

In this view, Lyth should have had a second crack at Test cricket somewhere along the line and can count himself unlucky at international level.

For on song, there remains no finer opener to watch in the country; indeed, Lyth has always played the game with great flair and style, his cover-drive up there with the likes of David Gower himself.

RECORD BREAKER: Adam Lyth on his way to scoring 161 for Yorkshire Vikings against Northants in the NatWest T20 Blast at Headingley in August 2017. Picture: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

A team man at heart, and a Yorkshireman to his boots, Lyth is quick to pay tribute to those who have helped him along the way, although there are far too many of those for him to feel confident about compiling a definitive list off the top of his head.

“There’s lots of people,” he said. “As a young kid, Anthony McGrath and Jacques Rudolph were the two that helped me the most in the team. Also my first batting coach, Kevin Sharp, Galey as captain for all those years, opening the batting under him. Martyn Moxon. There’s loads... Ian Dews... There’s too many. I’m sorry, I’ll forget all the names and apologies for that. There’s so many people who have helped me over the years.”

It is enough that Lyth has repaid them with his bat and with his attitude to the game.

Indeed, he has upheld the time-honoured values of the Yorkshire cricketer – play the game hard but in the right way too.

Nor should it be forgotten, when evaluating his skills, what a tremendous slip fielder Lyth has been also, as well as a useful purveyor of part-time off-spin.

His versatility is not the least of his many qualities.

Touchingly, Lyth still wears the same beloved and battered old Yorkshire cap that he was so proud to receive back in the day – “my grandma’s stitching holds it together”, he said.

He has done his family and all his friends proud.

On behalf of readers everywhere, it remains only to congratulate Lyth on his 200-match milestone and to thank him for the rich entertainment that he has provided over so many years – the latest in the long line of outstanding Yorkshire opening batsmen.