Gary Ballance is relishing his second season as Yorkshire captain, admitting his first was challenging but enjoyable.

The England fringe batsman had a stop-start summer in the role last year, with international cricket and injury limiting his game time with the county and leaving his deputy Tim Bresnan to stand in through the middle of the summer.

But the left-hander still topped the 900-run mark in the Championship, becoming the first White Rose captain to score two hundreds in a first-class match during an early season draw at Hampshire.

Ahead of Friday’s opener against Essex at Emerald Headingley, Ballance said: “I’m looking forward to it. Last year, my first, was a bit of a challenge. But I think I learnt a lot and can take it into this year.

“Captaincy definitely helped my batting.

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