Halifax’s Alex Lees has fended off stiff competition to be crowned this year’s LV= Breakthrough Player.
Now in its third year, the award recognises young players who have made their mark on the LV= County Championship during the season and are being earmarked for future international honours.
Yorkshire’s tall, left-handed opener formed part of a five-strong shortlist including Surrey’s Zafar Ansari and Jason Roy, Somerset’s Lewis Gregory and Adam Riley of Kent.
An expert panel including ECB performance director David Parsons, former England skipper Mike Gatting and PCA Chairman Mark Wallace picked out the five frontrunners for the award back in July.
The public then voted Lees, who has played for Bradshaw, Illingworth and Lightcliffe locally, as their winner to crown a Championship-winning season.
Along with the coveted trophy, he also wins £1,000 to donate to a grassroots cricket initiative of his choice.
Lees said: “I’m really honoured to be chosen by the public as this year’s Breakthrough Player.
“I’ve been pleased with how I’ve performed this season and am so happy to have been a part of a County Championship winning team.
“Hopefully I can follow in Joe Root’s footsteps to use this award as a springboard to push into international cricket in the future.”
Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire’s first XI coach and a former Australian international, presented Lees with the Breakthrough Player trophy.
He said: “Alex has shown amazing potential this season, and it’s fitting that this year’s Breakthrough Player should come from the team who are LV=CC Division 1 champions.
“He’s got a huge future in the game with junior international experience already, and we’ll be watching his progress closely.”
Claire Jeromson, LV= Head of Sponsorship, added: “Our Breakthrough Player award is going strong and is now in its third year, and we’re delighted for Alex after his progress this season.
“The £1,000 donation will hopefully go towards helping other youngsters like him shine in professional cricket.”