(Photo: Getty Images)
By Richard Latham
Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance had some encouraging words for young opposite number Tom Abell after a game that summed up their contrasting fortunes this season.
While the visiting skipper took his County Championship average for the season to 103.85 with a batting masterclass that set up a thrilling three-run win, Abell was left to reflect on a fourth defeat in six matches and an average of just over 17.
Both were appointed captains of their county for this summer. But Ballance is four years older and seemingly better equipped to handle the demands of the role.
“It is hard combining captaincy with focus on your own game and it can take time,” he said. “Experience is a big thing and during bad spells you have to back your game, even though it’s hard.
“Every cricketer will tell you there are good times and bad times. When you are in form you have to try and make it last as long as possible.
“I have tried to approach my batting as I would normally this season. It’s the same mindset and happily I started the season well so confidence grew.
“From watching Tom Abell I believe him to be a very good player. He will find a way through and when the good times come again for him I’m sure he will make the most of them.”
Ballance could hardly have made out a better case for England Test selection this summer than with his 98 not out in the second innings on a pitch offering encouragement to the spinners.
“I’m playing as well as I have ever done,” he said. “I feel very good at the wicket and confidence is massively important.
“It’s not about stats, but rather about putting in performances and helping to set games up for our bowlers.
“Nothing changes about my thoughts on playing for England this summer. I just want to keep producing scores for my county.
“It’s quite hard to worry about international selection when you are captain of Yorkshire because there is such a lot going on.
“I want to keep my focus on winning games. If when the time comes I am in the selectors’ minds then great, but that will take care of itself.”