ADAM LYTH has attributed some of his stunning early-season form to hours spent on the putting green with Yorkshire’s sports psychologist.
The White Rose opening batsman is the country’s leading first-class run-scorer with 784 runs from eight matches, including three hundreds - one of which was a brilliant 230 in this week’s LV= County Championship win over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Lyth has always been one of county cricket’s most eye-catching stroke-makers, and in 2010 was the first man to score 1,000 runs in the season, a feat he could repeat this term. But consistency has often been a problem for him.
He has since only passed 750 first-class runs in a season twice, excluding this, and of the 47 times he has notched 50 in first-class cricket, he has only converted ten of them into centuries.
This season, however, there seems to be an extra determination from the 26-year-old to pile on the runs, stemming from an unusual source.
“Simon Hartley is our sports psychologist, and he’s done wonders with quite a few of us in terms of concentration,” said Lyth.
“He took me to the putting green at Wyke Golf Club, where we are members. He just told me to keep knocking in two foot putts and try not to miss.
“He said that professionals only get to 50 or 100 before they miss, but I got 213 on the run. You shouldn’t really miss should you, so it’s all about concentration. It took me about an hour and half.
“It just shows that I wasn’t concentrating on my 214th one because I missed it. After cricket, maybe I’ll go into golf.”
Spending more than 50 balls in the nineties at Northampton earlier this week was a prime example of Lyth’s increased determination to make the most of his ability.
In the past you may have seen him smack a glorious looking drive head high to cover and get out for 95.
Skipper Andrew Gale said as much after watching Lyth reach his second career double earlier this week.
"I've said to Adam all along that of all the Yorkshire lads that have been playing for England recently - Root, Bairstow, Ballance - he is the one with the most ability,’ he said.
"He has probably not been as consistent as he would have liked to be over the last three or four years since coming into the team.
“He's lacked discipline in his innings at times, gone through the gears too quickly, but he has worked hard on that throughout the winter and has matured a lot.”
And Lyth added: “It’s about not being complacent really and taking each innings as it comes. I can’t take my good form for granted. That’s something that I’ve learned over the last few years.
“I’m a year older and I’m a bit more experienced. I think I know my game now a bit more than I probably did a couple of years ago.
“I’d also like to say I know where my off-stump is, so I’m leaving the ball well, which is a good sign.”
Yorkshire are in NatWest T20 Blast action against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow (6.30pm). Andrew Flintoff steps up his bid to play for Lancashire with a second XI appearance today.