GARY BALLANCE would welcome the return to Headingley of Ashes rival Shaun Marsh if Yorkshire decide to ask the Australian back for a second spell.
Yorkshire’s bosses are believed to be weighing up a number of options regarding overseas players next summer and left-handed bat Marsh would be one possibility.
He impressed during a short spell at Headingley during the 2017 campaign after being brought in to boost the club’s Natwest T20 Blast campaign.
He also caught the eye in the County Championship for the White Rose, particularly at The Oval against Surrey in September when an unbeaten century in the second innings helped Yorkshire secure a draw.
Marsh, 34, has had a stop-start Test career for Australia, making 23 appearances and averaging 36.00, and his recall to the hosts’ Ashes squad – brought about by impressive domestic form for Western Australia – has been somewhat controversial, with some commentators Down Under arguing that his place should have gone to younger, more promising alternatives.
Marsh himself has acknowledged that he is probably on his last chance in terms of his international Test career, but if he were to be available next summer in some capacity, Yorkshire captain Ballance would be happy to see him return to Headingley.
“I’m delighted to see Shaun back in the Australian squad,” said Ballance in his online blog for Yorkshire.
“He was brilliant for us at Yorkshire last season. He performed well with the bat and scored runs, and he was brilliant in the dressing room as well, helping other guys with their approach to the game.
“There will no doubt be a few options knocking around for Galey and Martyn when it comes to sorting out our overseas player for next season, but he would definitely be a good signing if that’s the way they opt to go.”
He was brilliant for us at Yorkshire last season. He performed well with the bat and scored runs, and he was brilliant in the dressing room as well, helping other guys with their approach to the game.Gary Ballance on short-term Yorkshire team-mate and Ashes rival, Shaun Marsh
While Marsh looks a good bet to make the Australian starting line-up at the Gabba in Brisbane on Thursday, Ballance himself looks destined to be left on the sidelines with James Vince and Dawid Malan ahead of him in the pecking order in the middle of the line-up.
But the 27-year-old insisted he would be ready for the moment when he hopes he is called upon by England – whenever that might be in the coming weeks.
“I haven’t played any games over the last few weeks since Perth, so it’s been about working on my game in the nets with the coaches and training hard with the other lads who haven’t been playing,” added Ballance.
“I am confident I will be ready whenever and wherever my chance comes.”
Ballance’s England team-mate Jake Ball, meanwhile, says he is out to prove himself in Australia after returning to full fitness in the nick of time for an Ashes debut.
Ball made a brief but lasting impression at the start of the tour before straining ankle ligaments when he lost his footing in his delivery stride earlier in the month.
The 26-year-old seamer insists he is “fully fit” again and intends to vindicate glowing reports from coach Trevor Bayliss and others that he was shaping up as potentially England’s best bowler in these conditions.
All indications from the tourists’ camp are that Ball will play in Brisbane, preferred to the uncapped Craig Overton as England’s fourth seamer.
In just three Tests to date, and set a thankless task in two against India in Mumbai and Chennai last year, Ball has so far taken just two wickets at the unflattering average of 114 each.
But back in a country he has previously savoured, albeit at club level, he believes he can help England upset the odds.
“I’m really looking forward to it, 100 per cent,” he said. “It’s a massive game, a massive series, I think we’ve got a great chance.
“If you go through and look one by one against each other, then I think we just about edge it. Our team vibe has been amazing, so come the first day I think we’re going to hit the ground running.”