Gary Ballance says he is leading an “unbelievably talented” group of Yorkshire up and comers in the Royal London Cup, which continues at Somerset on Sunday (11am).

The Vikings travel to Taunton for their fourth Group B fixture out of eight.

In pursuit of a top three finish in the group for knockout qualification, they currently have three points from three games.

That includes a win chasing 328 against Leicestershire at Grace Road last Sunday and Wednesday’s one-point washout against Northamptonshire at Scarborough.

Yorkshire are set to come up against a familiar face in two-time Championship winning seamer Jack Brooks, who is now donning his headband in Somerset colours.

They are playing their third game today (FRIDAY), away against Nottinghamshire at Welbeck, and are bidding for a third win from three.

Like Yorkshire, they are fielding a mixture of senior players and youngsters coming through.

Of the White Rose youngsters, Ballance said: “This group is unbelievably talented.

“As long as they keep learning quickly and keep improving, the bar’s high for them. They can become really good players, which is exciting for the club.

“We saw Will Luxton on Wednesday and have seen Harry Duke and George Hill in the four-day stuff as well. There are a lot of guys who can do it. It’s great they are getting that experience in this competition.”

Ballance has been enthused by Yorkshire’s start to the RL50 competition, despite a heavy opening day defeat against Surrey at Scarborough.

“It was a tough game against Surrey – a tough pitch and a really good bowling attack. But we learnt from that and chased down a big score at Leicester.

“For guys who have just made their debuts to knock off that score was a great effort.

“It was a brilliant chase. The calmness that everyone showed was exceptional. You would see that from top-class players. It didn’t worry them. They kept their heads down and kept it at sevens pretty much the whole way.

“Dukey and Hilly were outstanding, and it should give them a lot of confidence – not just for this competition but for the rest of the season.

“I think it’s been good so far. Considering the age and experience of our team, we’ve done well.

“If it didn’t rain on Wednesday, we’d have had a good chance of winning that game (defending 223).”

While Ballance is by no means ruling out title success in this competition, he did admit: “As individuals, we want to be better than what we were at the start of the competition. That would be success in my eyes.

“We’ll take it one game at a time.

“Obviously we want to win every game and get as far as we can. We know that is going to be difficult. But as long as everyone keeps learning, there’s no reason why we can’t win quite a few games.”

Ballance has posted scores of 74, 96 and 77 in the Championship this year, added to a number of starts in T20 and 50-over cricket.

“It’s been one of those years so far,” he reflected. “I’ve been getting starts and getting out.

“I’m getting twenties, thirties and forties and finding a way to get out. That’s something I haven’t really done in my career before. That’s been frustrating. But I still feel like I’m batting alright.

“Getting a big score will give me confidence going into the rest of the year.”

Ballance has been asked to lead the side in the absence of Dom Bess (England duty), and he stepped in at Scarborough on Wednesday despite club captain Steve Patterson being in the team.

That is owed to the fact Patterson will not play every game.

“If required, I’m happy to do it,” said Ballance, of the role he relinquished permanently midway through 2018.

“I enjoy the captaincy on the field. I always enjoyed that side of it. It’s good fun. I like thinking about the game.

“But that’s not the only thing you do as a captain. There are lots of other things involved.”

So there could well be a chance Ballance is at the forefront of the celebration photos with the trophy at Trent Bridge next month: “With Patto at the back!” he quipped.

“That would be nice. He can do another one.”

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