‘I wasn’t expecting’ an Ashes call-up, admits Gary Ballance

Image courtesy of: The Guardian

“It will be an honour to represent England at the highest level and it will be extra special in an Ashes Series”

Zimbabwe-born batsman Gary Ballance has admitted that he “wan’t expecting” to be included in England’s Ashes squad for their tour of Australia in November.

The 23-year-old was just one of three new faces in the squad, with the other two being Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and Warwickshire pace bowler Boyd Rankin.

“I wasn’t expecting it and I was surprised when I got the call,” Ballance said. “I am looking forward to it. It will be a great lifetime experience. It will be an honour to represent England at the highest level and it will be extra special in an Ashes Series.

“It will be a little daunting playing with some of the best players in the world but I know that I’ll be made welcome. I’ve spoken to (Yorkshire team-mates) Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Tim Bresnan about the England set-up and they speak highly of the dressing room.

“It is very much like a club environment where everyone works hard for each other with one common goal of winning.

“Being involved with the England performance programme and the England Lions has been beneficial. It gets you immersed in the way England prepares. Having toured Australia with the Lions earlier in the year, I learnt a lot about international cricket and the way the game is played out there.”

However, if Ballance is to represent England during the Ashes, he will most likely have to replace Jonny Bairstow and come in at sixth on the batting line-up.

But, the youngster revealed that he was not “thinking too far in advance about breaking into the team”.

“I’m not thinking too far in advance about breaking into the team,” he said. “I will work hard on my game, develop my skills in the nets and practice and see what comes of it. There is a lot of competition for places, which is very exciting. I expect it to be a demanding tour, with massive interest.”

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