Ballance: No battle with Bairstow
New Ashes recruit Gary Ballance says he's thrilled to be a part of the squad, and isn't thinking about competing with Jonny Bairstow for a place in the side right now.
<b>New Ashes recruit Gary Ballance says he's thrilled to be a part of the squad, and isn't thinking about competing with Jonny Bairstow for a place in the side right now.</b>
Ballance earned the call-up on the back of two centuries for England Lions in August and good form on the county scene thereafter.
Bairstow, meanwhile, did not have an Ashes series to remember, struggling to just one half-century before being dropped for the final test in favour of Chris Woakes.
Ballance appears to be in line to possibly take over the number six slot in England's batting line-up, but he still believes the position is Bairstow's to lose.
"I was in the academy with him at Yorkshire for a year and we spent a lot of time together," he said of Bairstow.
"He's done well at Yorkshire and he's done well at England so it's probably his spot at the moment but he deserves it.
"I lived with him for a year – we're good mates so there won't be any animosity."
Ballance left Zimbabwe for England when he was only 16. He represented the African nation at under-19 level, but always dreamed of bigger things.
"I knew that if I wanted to play cricket that England would be the place to do it," he said. "It was in the interest of my career.
"I'd watched Ashes cricket as a youngster and I'd always dreamed of playing in that – it's the pinnacle of Test cricket.
"As a cricketer you grow up wanting to be involved in this kind of stuff. It was just a dream to get the call and quite a shock when I found out.
"I rang my parents straight away and I told a few of the lads and they were very pleased for me."
Ballance's England debut came in a one-day international against Ireland earlier this month. He was dismissed for a duck, but isn't about to let that failure affect him going forward.
"Obviously it didn't go as well as I'd hoped but at the end of the day we won the game," he said.
"It would have been nice to score a few runs but these things happen.
"I didn't really want to get myself too down about it – you get these things in cricket all the time, so you've got to pick yourself up.
"The next step up is going to be tough but if I get the chance I like to think I'm ready
"I've always dreamed of this opportunity and I'm really looking forward to it."
‘He’s a fantastic asset’ – Joe Root excited to see Rashid Khan in Hundred action
The England Test captain and Afghanistan leg-spinner are team-mates at Trent Rockets.
5 things we learned from the opening games of The Hundred
The near 8,000 who turned up for night one represented the biggest ever UK crowd for a women’s match.
First-pick Rashid Khan proud to be flying flag for Afghanistan in The Hundred
The leg-spinner is excited about the prospect of bowling 10 balls in a row when he turns out for Trent Rockets.
Adil Rashid looking forward to coming up against Jonny Bairstow in The Hundred
When they face off on Saturday the Yorkshire and England team-mates will be on opposite sides for the first time.
Michael Vaughan: Ashes will be ‘farce’ unless England granted travel exemptions
The former international skipper had previously called for the series to be cancelled unless families were allowed to accompany players.
Shane Warne believes Matt Parkinson could play ‘huge part’ for England in Ashes
Parkinson has yet to make his Test debut but has impressed the Australian leg-spinning great.
Sam Billings ends frustrating period with ‘enjoyable’ first Hundred experience
Oval Invincibles followed up their women counterparts’ win on Wednesday with success of their own.
The Hundred succeeds on its own terms as men take their turn
Oval Invincibles took victory in both the women’s and men’s openers.
Oval Invincibles beat Manchester Originals in first men’s Hundred match
The new tournament produced another thriller with the Invincibles following the success of their women’s team.
Graham Clark’s career-best 141 helps Durham blast past 400 to defeat Kent
The visitors won by 103 runs at Beckenham to get their Royal London Cup campaign off to a flying start.