Gary Ballance is making hundreds again and you’re going to have to take a position on that

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Photo by Sarah Ansell

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?


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  1. Isn’t indifference to Gary Ballance as a prospective international player a reasonable position now that we cannot realistically be indifferent to Ian Bell in that capacity.

    We have to be allowed indifference to somebody, surely?

  2. He also scored 194 in the final innings of last season. That’s 3 hundreds in his last 3 CC matches.

    I think we could do a lot worse than him at 3 for England but I’d like to see him continue this form for a bit longer.

    With the first test match not being until the end of July and most of his rivals going to be playing limited overs cricket then he has plenty of time to bat himself into 1st choice.

    1. Because it’s so round, you mean?

      He was brought back for Root’s first Test in charge, so I think he’s okay in the other sense.

      1. Yes on face roundness. But also he just comes across as a bit awkward, shy, uncomfortable in his own skin. Not that there’s anything wrong with those traits in general. But it sometimes feels like if you don’t have an imaginary horse, a sleeve tattoo, a hipster moustache or a penchant for punching people outside nightclubs, it’s harder to get into this England side and stay there.

  3. I never knew how much people – by which I mean cricket-writers and cricket blog commenters – wanting Ballance in/out of the side was because of the punning potential of his name. Therefore I found it hard to decide what the true position is.

    1. Gaz Baz can take heart from the fact that having two matching consecutive letters in your name seems to please the selectors of late.

      Cook, Carberry, Hameed, Jennings, Root, Bell, Trott, Buttler, Moeen, Curran, Finn, Wood.

      Not a bad team, that. A little batting heavy.

  4. Just a tad nostalgic a set of selections but I wonder what the peak “double-letter” team must have been – surely at least 6 or 7 playing simultaneously?

    Do I have to take a position on Ballance by the way O King or can I remain agarynostic?

  5. We already have too many players whose technique doesn’t stand up to being in the top 3 who occupy 5-8 in the side. We don’t need to add another in.
    Having said that, I don’t have a whole host of alternatives lined up.

  6. Unless I’m mistaken, the only tests being played this summer in England will be against Oz in the Ashes. That only gets going on 1-Aug. If Ballance continues in his current form, he will have scored a metric boatload of runs and will probably be impossible to keep out of the side.

    1-Aug is far enough away that I can choose to not take a position on Ballance’s run-and-ton-scoring for another 8-10 weeks. At which point, again, if he’s still scoring runs, the position to take will be obvious.


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