GARY Ballance is hoping a quieter winter personally can reap rewards on the field in 2019.

The Yorkshire batsman has, in the last few weeks, linked up with the squad at Emerald Headingley as they embark upon the latter stages of pre-season.

Ballance, 29-years-old, had been granted extra time off by the county’s hierarchy after a busy few years which have included England duty overseas and issues with anxiety, forcing him onto the sidelines during the first half of last summer. It also resulted in him relinquishing captaincy duties to Steve Patterson.

The left-hander has enjoyed his winter, spending a lot of time overseas, including with his family in Zimbabwe. He also married fiancee Alex in December.

Now, his attention has turned to preparing for next month’s pre-season tour to Potchefstroom from March 8-20 and then the new season, starting with a three-day friendly against Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities eleven days later.

“It’s been quite a busy few years for me, so I have had a bit more time off this winter,” he said.

“I’ve managed to get away from it, reset and refresh my mind whilst keeping my fitness up and staying in shape.

“I’m looking forward to going away on pre-season and coming back fresh for the start of the summer. With just under two months to the season when I came back, there’s still been enough time to get ready.

“Yorkshire were really good in giving me the time off. It’s helped a lot, and I’m ready to go now.”

Ballance ended 2018 with a bang, posting County Championship scores of 104, 5, 85, 30, 11, 194 and 60 in September, going a long way to ensuring Yorkshire pulled clear of relegation danger to finish fourth.

It all came after a disruptive first half of the summer, first highlighted when he was a late withdrawal from the Championship defeat to Surrey at the Kia Oval in May.

He would end up having just over a fortnight away from the game.

“It was obviously quite difficult dealing with some personal things,” said Ballance, who finished with 1,422 runs across all formats.

“I needed some time away and got that. Hopefully I won’t ever go back to those feelings.

“It was tough, but I felt I dealt with it quite well.

“When I came back, I finished the season strongly. I’d love to take that into this year.

“I just want to contribute to us winning, and fingers crossed that happens.

“We have a young squad, but there’s a lot of potential here.

“Some senior players have left, so I’ve got to be there and really try and help them along and contribute when needed.

“I’m really looking forward to it.”