Is Gary Ballance back?

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2 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

It’s a reference to a headline pun that’s overused on this website but which isn’t itself a pun. Jokes don’t come much weaker than that. Except for all our other ones.

Is Gary Ballance back? Sport is brutally cold and England won’t go into the first Test of the summer with an empty batting slot where James Taylor would have been. They’ll pick someone in his place. Possibly Gary Ballance.

For a time, two of our most common thoughts while watching a Test match were, “At least Ballance is still in,” when England were batting and, “Get Ballance on!” when they were bowling. We like Gary Ballance. We like his doughy tenacity. We like the chaos of his part-time right-arm semi-filth.

Last year’s imballance was a strange one with our man seemingly decked by the coaching team’s faith in him. Returning from injury, he was thrust into England’s World Cup team at number three and short of practice, he floundered. England’s World Cup campaign was a catastrophe and he carried his newfound runlessness through to the summer, at which point he was dropped.

Experts love a technical weakness and declared this to be the cause of his ills. Gary is of a different mind. He reckons that far from being the problem, his technique is what got him to where he is.

The line between delusional stubborness and justifiably single-minded conviction is a narrow one and it is defined by how many runs you score. ‘Gary Ballance’s back’ hinges on what happens next.


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  1. Given the already massive uncertainty for numbers 2 & 3 on the teamsheet, I would guess that either Ballance or Bell is due to be slotted back in to the number 5 slot. Frankly everytime Alastair Cook opens his mouth on the subject of his colleagues, something happens to make things even worse.

    This is currently England’s team sheet for the 1st test of the summer:

    A. Cook
    Some bloke
    Another bloke
    J. Root
    Person, possibly a bloke
    B. Stokes
    M. Ali
    S. Broad
    Bloke, possible a person
    J. Anderson

      1. I’m hoping one of those blokes is Finn, preferably not in the 1st 3 available positions. I like Woakes a lot but he keeps getting selected in spite of, rather than because of his performances.

        Ben Foakes would be a good option, enabling Bairstow (whom I neglected to include in my last post) to 5.

      2. But mainly because it would allow the Stokes/Woakes/Foakes triple combo of blokes.

        Alec, I think you’re missing one Wisden-Approved© batsman in there. And indeed one slot overall.

      3. Except you just mentioned him in your previous comment. Forgive me, I’ve just come back from a colleague’s lunch where there was cider on offer.

  2. Some more serious matters than usual dealt with in this Twitter round-up. Taylor’s condition, natch, from which we all hope he will go onto great things. Moeen Ali being stopped in the airport – I hope it’s not because of his appearance and name, but it probably is. And of course the collective blindness of the Cricinfo from those two pairs of swimming trunks. Not fair not safe.

    Posted here on the grounds that it’ll probably not make it through the Cricinfo moderation.

    1. That Jason Gillespie tweet really needed what he was retweeting to appear beneath, as it does in the original.

      Stupid Twitter formatting, ruining our mediocre jokes.

  3. I’m a fan of Ballance too, but have to say that he looked shocking last season, at county level latterly as well as at international level.

    Whether that shocking look really is a technical flaw that has been “found out” or simply the type of form slump that can also infect a batsman’s confidence for a while is beyond my ability to judge. My guess is the latter and that Gary Ballance will bounce back.

    From a selection point of view, I hope that the decision will be made for cricketing reasons, rather than having the money men decide. Because you know what they say – old accountants don’t die, they just lose their Ballance.

    I’ll get my coat.

    1. People are only punning Ballance in unimaginative ways today.

      I think it is high time someone punned him with Ball-lance

      The concept of lancing a ball sounds rather painful but we can only hope it is referring to a cricketing ball.

  4. Comments haven’t yet been closed for this, so – on the basis of current evidence, no, Gary Ballance is very far from back. As far as you can get.

    Gary Ballance is big toenail.

Comments are closed.