Nixon: England can’t forget about Ballance
Gary Ballance has started the season in superb form and if the England Test squad for this summer was announced tomorrow, he would surely be in contention. To have scored over 500 runs before reaching May is a remarkable achievement.
Of course, there is a long way to go before that first Test of the summer with one-day cricket now taking control and the Champions Trophy not far off. But it’s important that England give off a consistent message.
Andrew Strauss is a consistent bloke and a good man and the selectors will be in constant communication with Gary to let him know that he still has a chance. Some will argue that having had two cracks at Test cricket, we should move on but that’s not right.You can’t just ignore someone who is making that amount of runs.
Gary has an outstanding record for Yorkshire but he got stuck in the crease a bit for England. The opposition did their homework on him, set their fields and he just didn’t get forward enough.
He’s gone away and obviously worked hard over the winter having last played for England in that drawn series in Bangladesh. He’s come back and put the weight of runs in and that’s all he can control now.
England will know what they are looking for and how they want that player to play for the Three Lions. It would show consistency and a trust in somebody to go back to players they have used before and they are key ingredients in building a relaxed set-up.
Gary has been dropped when England have been poor, and while some may see him as a scapegoat, that’s not always the case. If someone is getting out in the same way for the majority of their innings, which Gary was with being caught in the crease and not getting forward, then it’s easy to put that person under pressure.
When the whole team aren’t performing, changes have to be made. We were all willing Gary to get forward, but if there’s that flaw in a technique then he’s the first on the team sheet to have a question mark next to his name.
He must have got further forward at the start of this season to negate the swinging ball, which does all sorts in
You can’t just rule somebody out because they’ve already had a couple of chances
April.Yes, you have to let the ball come to you but you have to go forward to it, too, and get in a good position.
Gary would let the ball nip around and it would be too late for him to get into a position before and that’s when he faced difficulties.
He got a few starts against Pakistan and Bangladesh last year, but six games may not be enough to perform.
You need to feel settled. We all go to a new job, where you might be doing the same work as the job before, but it takes a while to feel settled.
We have to remember that Ballance is only 27, and that’s about the age when batsmen get to their peak. Having had that break away would have helped. The same happened with Andrew Strauss and he went away and worked on his areas that he felt needed strengthening and developing.
You can’t just rule somebody out because they’ve already had a couple of chances.
If they are the ones who are performing at the domestic level, then they have to be next in line whether it’s their first chance or fifth.
There is still a long way to go until that Test squad is named, though, and these first few games could be long forgotten. So Gary, and every other county batsman, needs to keep going and put the work in to hammer on that door.
Still in contention: Gary Ballance may soon be in an England team again after his runs this season