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Captain Ballance determined to excel for White Rose

— 13 January 2018

Gary Ballance says he will take his England disappointment “on the chin” after being left out of their squad for March’s two-Test tour of New Zealand.

The Yorkshire captain has returned to Leeds from Australia, where he was part of their Ashes squad but did not play.

However, his name was not on the list to tour New Zealand, with Lancashire captain Liam Livingstone taking his place when it was announced on Tuesday.

Ballance has not hidden his disappointment.

But he is determined to put it behind him quickly, concentrate on Yorkshire matters and try to force his way back into the Test reckoning via success at county level.

He has done it before and can do it again.

“It’s obviously very disappointing to be left out of the squad,” said the 28-year-old.

“I want to be involved in everything, all the tours, and I want to try and force my way back into the team.

“But that’s how it goes, and I’ll take it on the chin.

“I’ll have a bit of time off, work hard in the nets and get back to scoring as many runs as possible for Yorkshire. Hopefully that will put my name back in there.

“It’s disappointing, but I’ve been in this situation before. If I can score runs again, I’ll give myself the best chance.

“I’m not going to take it too personally, and I’ll make myself work even harder and do everything I can to get back into the side.

“I’m not the kind of guy to hold onto things for too long. I’ll get over it quickly, work hard and do what I can for Yorkshire – win games and score runs.”

As Ballance alluded to, he will now be granted some time away before returning to training with the White Rose.

He is then likely to lead the squad on pre-season tour to Potchefstroom in early March.

That Ballance tours is not set in stone yet because he has qualified to play in the ECB’s three-match North v South series in Barbados, which clashes.

However, he said: “I haven’t quite decided whether to go or not yet or go on pre-season tour with Yorkshire.

“I’ve been away from the lads for a long time now, and I think I will probably end up going on our pre-season tour to Potch.

“It’s a great place to have a pre-season. It will be perfect for us. I’ve been on a few tours there, and I think quite a few of the lads have been there before as well.

“I’m excited to get back with the boys.

“Personally, I felt like my batting was in a great place last year, and I want to get back to that.

“But I also want to work on my captaincy, and I feel like there are areas I can improve on there. Hopefully I can work on those over the next few months and go into the season feeling good.

“Speaking to Galey and Martyn, the lads have been working hard and are ready to go.”

  • England lost 4-0 Down Under, with Ballance and Surrey’s Ben Foakes not getting any game time.

    “It was great being a part of an Ashes tour,” continued Ballance.

    “Obviously it was very disappointing with the end result and because I couldn’t be a part of any of the games.

    “But there’s a full squad that goes out there, and there’s no guarantees.

    “It’s a shame I couldn’t contribute, but the lads who played put in a great effort.

    “We came close in a few games and played some good cricket. Unfortunately we weren’t able to come out on top.

    “There’s a lot that can be learnt from everyone who was out there. Personally, I’m looking to do exactly that moving forwards.

    “I learnt a lot more about playing on the quicker, bouncier pitches. I didn’t play a Test Match, but I feel I definitely improved as player.”

  • England are now preparing for a five-match one-day series in Australia, starting on Sunday, with Ballance confident of an away victory and hoping Joe Root is fit to play in Melbourne after his bout of gastro during the latter stages of the Sydney Test.

    “They’re a very good one-day side,” he added. “They have some fresh faces coming in, including the lads who have been going well in the Big Bash. That will be a big help to England.

    “Hopefully they get the win and give English cricket a bit of a lift, which would be good.

    “Joe’s situation was a shame. He was gutted.

    “We turned up ready to go to the final day and were told he might not make it to the ground on time having been ill in the night.

    “It was a great effort for him to go back out later in the morning, and watching on the TV in the dressing room, he didn’t look too good. That hour at the crease must have taken a lot out him.

    “I saw him on the day I flew home, and he was still feeling it.

    “But it sounds like he is just about ok now. Fingers crossed he’s fit for the start of the one-dayers.”

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