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Yorkshire trio hope to feature in England’s Twenty20 plans
Andrew Gale believes there is still an opportunity for some of his Yorkshire players, including himself, to force their way into England’s plans for September’s World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka.
The White Rose captain, who smashed 70 at the top of the order in Sunday’s win over Leicestershire at Headingley, has pointed to Michael Lumb as an example of how someone can sneak in through the back door.
There are currently a trio of candidates in the Yorkshire squad who could feasibly come from left field, including Gale, Joe Root and Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance.
Left-handed Ballance, who has now qualified for England, has been in stunning form during the first half of the summer, confirming that with an unbeaten 47 off 35 balls in the Friends Life t20 win over Derbyshire.
“I guess there’s a few places up for grabs now with Kevin Pietersen retiring and things like that,” said left-handed Gale, a former recent England Lions captain.
“They’ll definitely be looking for a couple of people to stand up over the next months or so.
“Someone like Michael Lumb sneaked in through the back door if you like and ended up in a World Twenty20-winning team back in 2010.
“There’s no reason why someone like Gary can’t do that. Or myself if I have a good tournament, so we’ll see how we go.
“Gary’s really developed his game in that sort of middle order, being destructive in that end period.
“He had a really good competition in Zimbabwe over the winter, and I think he’s still a very underrated cricketer.
“He’s sort of slipped under the radar of the Performance Programme squads and the Lions, but I’d put him up there as one of the best young cricketers in the country at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Gale, whose side thrived against Derbyshire under lights at the County Ground, where they notched their second t20 win on the spin by 41 runs, believes the reduction in Twenty20 group matches from 16 to ten this season will help to boost the quality of the competition.
He added: “I love Twenty20 cricket, so I must admit I enjoyed the 16 games last year because it gives you a good opportunity to get stuck into that format.
“But there were a few meaningless games towards the back end.
“You shouldn’t have that with only ten games to play.
“You can probably afford to lose a couple and still qualify.”