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Geoffrey Boycott: Don't write off England's Gary Ballance in this winter's Ashes

England legend Geoffrey Boycott is backing Gary Ballance to force his way into the team and shine in this winter's Ashes series - as England and Australia go head to head exclusively live on BT Sport.

CRICKET 14/11/17 09:30
Gary Ballance

Geoffrey Boycott has backed Gary Ballance to prove the doubters wrong and force his way into England's Ashes team.

Watch the 2017-18 Ashes exclusively on BT Sport

The Zimbabwe-born batsman has struggled to establish himself in the England Test side and missed most of the summer with a broken finger.

However, Boycott, who will be part of the BT Sport commentary team for this winter’s Ashes series between England and Australia, says the 27-year-old has what it takes to be a success Down Under and expects the batsman to play a role in the series.

“Two things Gary has that he will never lose; he is mentally tough and has a strong character. He will be up for the fight,” said Boycott.

“He’s struggled in the past against the little spinners of Bangladesh where the ball turns a lot and keeps low. He likes the ball coming on to him. There is a question mark over him but I don’t think he will be found wanting.”

Ballance enjoyed a bright start to his Test career, making a hundred against Sri Lanka in only his second Test, but has struggled to establish himself in the side and was dropped in the 2015 Ashes for Jonny Bairstow.

However, Boycott says Ballance deserved his recall pointing out the lack of alternatives scoring heavily in the county game.

“Given the alternatives I don’t think the selectors had any choice but to pick him,” Boycott explained. “He has experience of Test cricket and has been successful. He’s scored a few hundreds. He has had some failures but there isn’t a lot of other options.

“If you asked supporters of all 18 counties who should be picked for England they would all give you a different set of names as to who should be picked along with Alistair Cook and Joe Root.

“This shows to you that there are very few batsmen who stand out and say pick me.”

 

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