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Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale calls for common sense over Ballance Lions call
Andrew Gale has urged the England selectors to let Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance remain with his county instead of going on Lions duty later this month.
The White Rose are fearful that their in-form left-hander will be called up for a three-match one-day series against Bangladesh ‘A’ in Bristol and Taunton between August 20 and 24, which clashes with their next LV= County Championship match.
Yorkshire travel to Trent Bridge to face Nottinghamshire in division one, starting on August 21.
Ballance was an integral part of the Lions’ one-day plans over the most recent winter in Australia, but he is proving to be even more key to Yorkshire’s Championship title push having scored 112 and 45 in the draw against Warwickshire.
The 23-year-old is their leading run-scorer in four-day cricket with 847 from ten matches at an average of 60.50.
“As far as Gary is concerned, if England come for him we will have no say in the matter, of course,” said Gale. “But I would hope we would not lose him for the Lions game.
“If he goes and plays for England, that’s fair enough. But if it is for England Lions, I think he’d be better off playing for us in the Championship. With the three in the senior side and five in the under-19s, I think we’ve given our fair share to the three lions!
“He’s had a year with them, they know he can play, they know about his character. What the Lions would find out about him, I don’t know. In my eyes, he’d been better playing for Yorkshire and chasing the Championship down.”
Yorkshire’s next outing is a one-day friendly against Bangladesh ‘A’ at Headingley on Friday.
Then they have three Yorkshire Bank 40 matches against Leicestershire, the Unicorns and Somerset before their next Championship commitment.
Should the worst come to the worst and Ballance is selected for the Lions, then at least Yorkshire will be able to call upon Phil Jaques or Joe Sayers as a replacement.
Jaques and Sayers missed the Warwickshire match through injury, with 34-year-old Jaques the obvious candidate to come in following his 139 in his last Championship match against Derbyshire last month, a fixture in which he sustained a torn muscle under his rib cage.
Sayers has been playing second XI cricket this week following a thigh injury and Gale said: “We should have a full squad for next time.”
Ballance moved up from five or six in the order to bat at number four against Warwickshire for the first time this season having done it fleetingly during the 2011 and 2012 campaigns.
“He’s been fantastic on and off the field. He’s very mature, the way he constructs his innings,” added Gale. “He just keeps it very, very simple. His preparation is diligent, he works hard, and he’s got a really simple game plan. You can see that when he comes in.
“He has a tuck off the hip, a back foot shot square of the wicket, and as his innings goes on, he goes through his gears. It’s a game plan that will stand him in good stead in Test cricket, I’m sure.
“You always know a good player when he scores runs when no one else does, and he stood up in the first innings against Warwickshire.”
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