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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Gary Ballance hopes successful Abu Dhabi T20 campaign can reignite England career

The left-handed batsman has not played for his country since July 2017. He is in the UAE as part of the Yorkshire Vikings squad taking part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20

Gary Ballance, the Yorkshire Vikings batsman, is in Abu Dhabi to take part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 tournament. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Cricket
Gary Ballance, the Yorkshire Vikings batsman, is in Abu Dhabi to take part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 tournament. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Cricket

The Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance said a return to the England squad may be “beyond his control” but insisted he still had the desire to play for his country again.

The left-handed batsman, who is part of the Yorkshire Vikings team playing in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 this weekend, rounded off the English County season with a flourish, hitting a season’s best 194 followed by a 60 in Yorkshire's seven-wicket win over Warwickshire.

In total he amassed 906 runs for an average 39.39 in the County Championship, and 247 at an average 49.4 in the 50-over competition.

Despite his domestic performances, Ballance was overlooked by the England selectors for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. He last played for England in the 340-run defeat to South Africa in the second Test at Trent Bridge on July 2017, scoring 27 and four, and was subsequently dropped following a run of poor form.

Despite the lengthy absence, Ballance, 29, still harbours hopes of an international recall.

“I’m trying to [return to the England squad] but I can’t control that,” he said ahead of Thursday's start of the Abu Dhabi T20 at Zayed Cricket Stadium, where Yorkshire were in action against Lahore Qalandars.

“I just need to contribute and score runs for Yorkshire first and then let that take its own course. I can’t think about it [England] but I can contribute for my team to win games.

“I’m here and hopefully enjoy a few Twenty20 games and look to the next season."

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The Cricket Pod

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Yorkshire have used Abu Dhabi as a base for the past few summers and are one of six teams taking part in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20.

“We were here around 18 months ago for a pre-season tour and played a few games. It was a good place to play,” Ballance said.

“We've got a young side and are playing some experienced teams in the Abu Dhabi T20. We have some pretty good young players and want to win some games.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Abu Dhabi T20. We played in the Champions Trophy five-six years ago and it looks quite similar to that and hopefully it keeps going."

As for England, who are in Sri Lanka for five one-day internationals, three Tests and a one-off T20 between October 10 and November 27, Ballance said he would be cheering the team on.

“Sri Lanka are a good side on home conditions with the ball turning,” he said. “It’s going to be tough for England but the lads would have prepared well and done a few tours on the sub-continent over the last year. I’m sure they’ll do well.”

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