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Batting boost for Yorkshire title bid
Yorkshire have been handed a major boost with the news that key batting duo Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow are set to be available for the rest of the county season after missing out on England calls.
On the eve of the top-of-the-table LV= County Championship clash with Durham at Scarborough tomorrow, Ballance was called into England’s one-day international squad for Tuesday’s match against Ireland at Malahide, a day when Yorkshire do not play.
But the in-form left-hander was not selected in the squad for the forthcoming five-match series against Australia, which runs between September 6 and 16.
Bairstow was also left out of both squads, having not played a one-day international in almost a year. Headingley colleague Joe Root is in the latter party.
The only ways this could change is because of injuries or an excellent performance from Ballance against the Irish forces the selectors to have a rethink.
After a summer of being hit by international calls at a number of levels, Division One pace-setters Yorkshire have benefited at just the right time with them 25.5 points clear of Durham, who have a game in hand in second place and five to play.
Ballance missed Yorkshire’s ten-wicket win against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge last week due to Lions commitments, while Bairstow scored an excellent first-innings 62 after rejoining his county following his omission from the fifth Ashes Test.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has now been urged to concentrate fully on Yorkshire matters and let the rest take care of itself.
First-team coach Jason Gillespie said: “Whenever Jonny plays for Yorkshire, he’s a very important player both with the gloves and batting very positively to move the game forward. We’re looking forward to having him.
“We had a chat about it (England) and I told him that all he could do is go out and perform as well as he can for Yorkshire. I told him to show them how good he is.
“He did that against Notts, when he changed the momentum of the game. What you want in first-class cricket are players that change momentum in your team and Jonny certainly really helped us with that.”
The return of Ballance leaves Gillespie with a major selection headache tomorrow. He is is likely to leave out one of Phil Jaques, Alex Lees or Adil Rashid.
Yorkshire (from): Gale, Bairstow, Ballance, Brooks, Hodd, Jaques, Lees, Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Pyrah, Rashid, Sidebottom, Williamson.