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Blog: 'The Yorkshire Maradona' up for an award

— 20 November 2017

By Gary Ballance

We are just a few days away from the start of the series, and the excitement is definitely building amongst the lads, especially now that we’ve landed in Brisbane, where we will be back in training tomorrow and Wednesday.

We’ve had three warm-up games, which have gone pretty well. We can’t wait to get going now.

The Adelaide win under lights was a particularly important one for us given we are going to face the same conditions in the second Test in a fortnight or so. The lads played very well there.

Townsville was good as well.

There were hundreds scored and wickets taken for the likes of Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan and Chris Woakes in particular.

Ok, we couldn’t force the win on Saturday, but the lads did get a long and hard day in the field in intense heat, which will serve us well down the line.

There are definitely good signs heading into the series.

  • Personally, I haven’t played any games over the last few weeks since Perth, so it’s been about working on my game in the nets with the coaches and training hard with the other lads who haven’t been playing.

    I am confident I will be ready whenever and wherever my chance comes.

    It seems as though there has been quite a bit of surprise at the squad Australia have picked for the first couple of Tests. But they have some very good players in there.

    Tim Paine played well against us in Adelaide and got a few runs, so you can understand their thinking even though he hasn’t played for a while.

    I guess it goes with any selection – there’s always going to be some surprises which get questioned. But, at the end of the day, there’s lads there who have played international cricket and will be a threat.

  • Australian Cricket player Shaun Marsh attends the Brisbane Bupa Family Day on November 19, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.
  • One of those is Shaun Marsh. Take away the rivalry, which will be there on Thursday morning, and I’m delighted to see him back in the Aussie squad.

    He was brilliant for us at Yorkshire last season.

    He performed well with the bat and scored runs, and he was brilliant in the dressing room as well, helping other guys with their approach to the game.

  • There will no doubt be a few options knocking around for Galey and Martyn when it comes to sorting out our overseas player for next season, but he would definitely be a good signing if that’s the way they opt to go.

    Jimmy Anderson is doing his own video diary for the ECB website, and you may have seen that I have been nominated as one of three players of the week in our football competition, the Ballon d’Ashes.

    I’m pretty pleased with my form, I have to say. I’ll be working hard to keep that going. Although I’m not sure about my new nickname – the Yorkshire Maradona!

    I’m not the biggest football fan in the world, certainly not as passionate as someone like Rooty with Sheffield United. But I have always supported Liverpool and have been keeping an eye on their results.

    My parents are flying out from Zimbabwe this week for the series, so it will be good to see them. Fingers crossed they get to see an England win to get us off to the perfect start.

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