Lyth ready to fight for England recall

Yorkshire batsman Adam Lyth believes his England career is far from over despite falling behind young prospects Ben Duckett and Haseeb Hameed in the pecking order.

Friday, 4th November 2016, 12:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:50 pm
Adam Lyth

Whitby's Lyth featured in seven Test matches for England during the 2015 summer but lost his place at the top of the order following a fruitless Ashes series against Australia.

The 29-year-old struggled against Australia’s venomous pace attack and was dropped ahead of the winter tour to West Indies – despite some calling for him to retain his place.

After scoring 1,113 runs in the County Championship this summer, Lyth was again touted as a possible member of the touring party, given his replacement Alex Hales had ruled himself out over security fears.

However, the former Scarborough batsman’s phone stayed quiet as the England selectors overlooked him in favour of international newcomers Duckett and Hameed.

Lyth admits that he still harbours ambitions of resurrecting his career with the England side and feels time is still on his side.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m good enough to play at the highest level,” he said.

“I guess I just have to churn out some big runs and hopefully there will be a phone call around the corner. You never know.

“It’s just a case of knocking the door down to the selectors to get that phone call.

“I get a couple of texts here or there when I get a hundred but not a phone call from anyone.

“Hopefully the next phone call I do get will end up with me playing in an England shirt again.”

England have struggled to find a permanent partner for Alastair Cook at the top of the order since now director of cricket Andrew Strauss retired in 2012.

Cook has had nine partners in the last four years with Joe Root – the original replacement post- Strauss – averaging the highest runs per innings at 37.66.

Durham batsman Duckett got the nod over Hameed for the two Test series in Bangladesh.

But his expressive style against spin bowling was found wanting in his first three innings before he scored a half-century in the dramatic defeat in Dhaka.

Lyth scored 265 in his seven matches including a memorable century on his home track at Headingley against New Zealand.

However, he struggled against the super-quick pace of Mitchell Johnson and co later in the summer and scored just 115 runs in nine innings during the Ashes series.

Lyth added: “It obviously didn’t go the way I would have liked against Australia. I did well against New Zealand. Personally I think I should have played against West Indies but I don’t want to keep going back to that.

“Against Australia, I didn’t get the amount of runs that I would have liked or should have got. I would have wanted another crack in the winter tour but I didn’t get that chance. All I can do now is churn out a lot of runs for Yorkshire and put my name back in the hat and get picked again.

“I thoroughly enjoyed playing for England and hopefully there’s a lot more Test matches to come.”

One of Lyth’s most notable improvements during the 2016 summer came in white-ball cricket. He totalled 751 runs as an ever-present figure at the top of the order to guide the White Rose into the semi-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup and the Natwest T20 Blast.

Indeed, one-day captain Alex Lees hailed Lyth’s knock of 87 against Northants at Scarborough in August as the contributing factor to Yorkshire’s turnaround in fortunes in the shortest format. Lyth himself credited David Willey’s introduction up the order as one of the reasons for his more aggressive approach in the opening overs.

And his form with the white ball may yet bear fruit with a return to the international fold, although in a different guise to 2015, in one-day cricket.

“Maybe, Alex Hales got picked that way,” mused Lyth.

“At the end of the day, if I’m scoring big runs, whether that’s in one-day cricket or four-day cricket, I don’t mind.

“Obviously a lot of one-day games are played on TV so that’s exposure for players. It’s always nice to get runs on TV so people and commentators can start talking about x, y and z. The one-day game can definitely get you into playing international cricket and Test cricket.”