Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
England Lions tour is step up but not as big as I thought
Gary Ballance tour diary: After experiencing the city atmosphere of Melbourne, we have now transferred to Hobart for the next stage of our England Lions tour.
The ground is much smaller and compact but results have not gone well and we have lost the first three games of our five-match series against Australia A.
We’re all disappointed things didn’t go to plan, but we believe we’re improving.
The first game went down to the last over and we probably allowed them too many runs in the second and were not able to chase them down.
I believe I’m playing well personally, even if results have not gone well for us as a team. I got a couple of scores in the warm-up games but circumstances have counted against me a little bit in the matches against Australia A.
In the first match, I came in with only a few overs to go so I didn’t have a chance to build an innings and had to score quickly. I was caught on the boundary, which is always disappointing but sometimes that’s the way it goes in the final overs of one-day matches.
The second game was slightly different in that I arrived at the crease midway through the innings when we needed eight or nine runs an over. I thought I was going okay until the seam bowlers came back on and bowled very well.
In the third match today I scored 26 but we finished well short on 143 all out chasing 256-6.
Playing in these matches against Australia A makes you realise this is a step up from county cricket, although I don’t think it is as big a step as I thought.
We all feel we are in an environment where we can do well, get recognised for our efforts and have a chance to play for the full England side.
Talking of the England team, we’ve been following how they are doing in New Zealand and it’s been no surprise to me how quickly Joe Root, my Yorkshire team-mate, has settled into international cricket.
I’ve played at the Academy, the second team and for Yorkshire’s first team with him and I’ve always known he is a quality player.
He deserves his chance and he’s proving that he belongs at that level. Watching Joe perform as well as he has definitely gives me encouragement that I can do the same – after all it was only a year ago he was also playing for the Lions.
The other news that has found its way to Australia is the retirement of Anthony McGrath after 17 years with Yorkshire.
Since I joined Yorkshire, he was always someone I looked up to and went to for advice and I know a lot of the other young players did the same like Joe Root and Adam Lyth.
Of course I can’t mention Anthony McGrath without thinking of his great sense of humour and his love of a good prank.
No one ever knew for sure who was responsible for pranks like having the toes cut off socks, but we all suspected it was him. I’m sure he will be sadly missed both in the dressing room and on the pitch.