The Chosen One: Yorkshire captaincy too good to turn down for honoured batsman Ballance

GARY BALLANCE has described the chance to captain Yorkshire as 'impossible to turn down'.

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 7:03 am
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 10:06 am
Yorkshire's Gary Ballance celebrates his century against Middlesex at Scarborough earlier this summer. He has been named the county's new captain across all three formats. (Picture:

The England batsman has been appointed in succession to new first-team coach Andrew Gale, who recently retired as the club’s Championship captain.

Ballance will lead Yorkshire in all formats having been preferred to Alex Lees, who led them to the semi-finals of both one-day competitions last season.

Yorkshire want Lees to focus on his batting as he tries to break into international cricket.

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Andrew Gale has made his first big decision as Yorkshire's first-team coach (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

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Ballance, whose international career has stalled on the ongoing tour of India, is relishing the chance to lead the White Rose.

Andrew Gale has made his first big decision as Yorkshire's first-team coach (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Speaking from Chennai, venue for Friday’s fifth and final Test, he said: “It is an absolute honour to be named club captain and to follow in the footsteps of some great captains over the years. I cannot wait to get started.

“When Andrew Gale called me, it was impossible to turn down. Captaining is something I enjoy doing and hopefully I will do a good job and follow on from the good work that Galey has done.

“I’m experienced now and I have played a bit of cricket over the years, so I have seen how different captains work. I think I am a calm person and that I have a decent cricket brain.

“I’m not a massive speaker, but I will be looking to lead by example and get the lads to follow me.”

Gale, who last month replaced Jason Gillespie in the coaching hot-seat, said: “I wanted to take my time when deciding who to appoint as club captain, and Gary is the right man to take the team forward.

“I am a firm believer in continuity and I am pleased that Gary will captain Yorkshire across all three formats.

“Gary is respected on and off the field, has a good cricket brain and knows the direction that we would like to take the team in.

“He has led from the front for many years with the bat and his experience speaks for itself.

“Last season I missed a game against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough with a back injury and Gary stepped in as captain.

“He showed great qualities as a leader and I am excited about how he will lead the side in the future.”

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, hailed Ballance as the ideal choice.

“I think Gary is the obvious candidate,” he said. “His cricket brain is excellent.

“Given the fact that we want Leesy to focus on his batting, Gary is someone who will potentially play all the games if he’s available.”

Moxon said that Lees fully appreciates the situation.

“Galey and I spoke to him and there’s absolutely no problem,” he said.

“The facts are that we all want Leesy to focus on his batting and become the best batsman that he can be.

“That’s the best thing at this moment in time for his future, with regards to potentially playing international cricket, which is what we believe he’s capable of and obviously what he wants to try and achieve.

“It does put a strain on you being captain; there are pressures and challenges in being a captain, and we just feel it’s the right thing for him and the team that he doesn’t have those pressures and that he can focus solely on his batting and scoring as many runs as possible.”

Ballance’s international future is uncertain but Moxon is relaxed.

“If Gary gets called up, he gets called up, but obviously it looks at the moment as though he’s going to have to score a lot of runs for Yorkshire to get a chance again,” he said.

“If he scores a lot of runs, it gives us a better chance of winning, and if he does get picked (by England) we’ll have someone to take over.

“Whether we announce an official vice-captain is still to be decided, but we know who we would go to if Gary’s not available for whatever reason.”

Waters on Ballance: Page 23