Gary Ballance has made three hundreds in his last three County Championship matches. How do you feel about that?
More likely than not, you think of Gary Ballance as a man who played for England, was found wanting and should never be picked again. People seem to forget the spell early on where his doughy tenacity was greatly reassuring.
Much is made of Ballance’s technical flaws and when he’s not doing well, it’s hard to argue. But he is also a man in the unusual position of having been poorly treated by England through their repeated selection of him.
Returning from injury, he was thrust into England’s 2015 World Cup team at number three and, completely short of practice, he predictably floundered. England’s entire campaign was a catastrophe and Ballance carried his newfound runlessness through to the summer, at which point he was dropped.
His return in 2016 was too easy. He hadn’t had time to rebuild himself and soon enough he was dropped again. Recalled in 2017, he was just beginning to rediscover the lovely habit of scoring plenty of runs, but probably hadn’t been doing it for long enough and he was dropped again.
Maybe it’s mistreatment. Maybe it’s indicative of fragile foundations. We don’t know. He does have a first-class average of almost 50 though. That is pretty unusual at the minute.
Ballance himself recently told Cricket 365 that it has been the criticism that has unravelled him in the past. He says he’s “put that to bed” now, which is not entirely persuasive without some explanation of how he’s achieved it.
It all feels very inconclusive.
How do you feel about Gary Ballance making runs?