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Yorkshire ace Gary Ballance thrilled at Ashes call-up
Gary Ballance has been handed a maiden England Test call-up for this winter’s Ashes series Down Under alongside county colleagues Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow.
The Yorkshire left-handed batsman has been rewarded for an excellent summer in the LV= County Champion-ship, which currently sees him with 995 runs from 13 matches at an average of 52.36.
The 23-year-old, who made his England one-day debut against Ireland earlier this month, has scored three hundreds and six fifties in four-day cricket for his county in 2013.
Tim Bresnan misses out on selection due to his stress fracture of the back but the all-rounder will travel to Australia to continue his rehabilitation under the supervision of the England medical team.
Opening batsman Alex Lees is in the England Performance Programme squad, which will shadow the Ashes squad for a month in Brisbane and Perth.
Ahead of Yorkshire’s final Championship match against Surrey at the Oval tomorrow, Ballance said: “It was quite a big surprise and it still hasn’t really sunk in. But it’s a great feeling.
“I can’t wait. It’s an experience I’m really looking forward to.
“I got a phone call from (national selector) Geoff Miller to let me know.
“There are plenty of guys in there already who have done well but I’ve just got to work hard over the first month, look to carry on what I’ve done for Yorkshire and you never know. A lot can happen.”
Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and Warwickshire fast bowler Boyd Rankin are the other new faces in a 17-man squad, which also includes recalled left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.
The first match on tour is against Western Australia on October 31.
Twenty-year-old Lees and the Performance Prog-ramme party leave for Australia on November 14.
Seventeen-year-old left-arm spinner Karl Carver’s name is the only surprise in Yorkshire’s 14-man squad to face Surrey.
Meanwhile, the White Rose side have announced the return of former left-arm spinner Ian Fisher as one of two new strength and conditioning coaches alongside Irishman Blaine Clancy.
Fisher has left his job at Essex to help replace Tom Summers, who leaves Yorkshire after six years to move to Hong Kong.
Fisher, aged 37, took 91 wickets in 68 matches for Yorkshire between 1995 and 2001. He still plays in the Bradford League for New Farnley.
England Ashes squad: AN Cook (Essex, captain), MJ Prior (Sussex), JM Anderson (Lancashire), JM Bairstow (Yorkshire), GS Ballance (Yorkshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), MA Carberry (Hampshire), ST Finn (Middlesex), MS Panesar (Sussex), KP Pietersen (Surrey), WB Rankin (Warwickshire), JE Root (Yorkshire), BA Stokes (Durham), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), CT Tremlett (Surrey), IJL Trott (Warwickshire).
England performance programme squad: MM Ali (Worcestershire), DR Briggs (Hampshire), JC Buttler (Somerset), V Chopra (Warwickshire), BT Foakes (Essex), JAR Harris (Middlesex), CJ Jordan (Sussex), SC Kerrigan (Lancashire), AZ Lees (Yorkshire), TS Mills (Essex), J Overton (Somerset)*, SD Robson (Middlesex), RJW Topley (Essex), JM Vince (Hampshire), DJ Willey (Northamptonshire), MA Wood (Durham)*. *Will not travel to Australia.
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