GARY BALLANCE’S fractured finger has come at such an unfortunate time for him given the form he’s been in this summer.
He had been scoring runs for fun for Yorkshire and had got himself back into the England Test team.
Hopefully he can sort it out quickly and get back out there.
The criticism around the England situation at the moment, as a fan, is quite embarrassing.
It’s the start of the Test summer, they won their first game and yet you see so many pundits, ex-players and commentators wanting to get rid of three or four players.
If you are going to pick players, you have to give them a decent run in the side.
The media influence is massive now, and I believe they do have a responsibility as well to give some backing to the players selected.
It’s not just Gary. Look at Keaton Jennings.
There have been calls for him to be left out, but that should never be on anybody’s radar.
He’s had a hundred and a fifty in the four Tests he’s played, but because he goes two Tests without scoring a run, all of a sudden he needs to be left out.
We don’t want to get into a position where you’re into the team, have two bad games and you’re out again like it was with England in the nineties.
Not everybody gets it right straightaway, yet the moment someone is out of form the media jump on it.
Look at Gary, he’s been out of the side and has come back in having worked very, very hard. This is a big moment in his life, yet people jump on him straightaway.
I think Trevor Bayliss is a good coach, and I don’t think he takes much notice of the media, but it can have an unsettling influence on the players.
It would be like them giving a bad interview or writing a bad piece and people saying ‘get rid of them’. It’s not good for any walk of life, particularly professional sport.
Sticking with England selection matters, and one man who I think will be in contention for limited overs cricket in the next year or two is Azeem Rafiq.
I tweeted last week that I think Rafa is the best domestic off-spinner outside of that England set-up, and here’s why.
There’s not many limited overs games I can remember where he’s gone the distance, and when he does go for runs, he usually takes the important wickets.
There are so many big names who get the plaudits, but Rafa has been very consistent, especially since he came back to Yorkshire following his time out of the game.
He’s in a great place now to kick on and push forwards for Yorkshire.
He produces the goods, has the right cricket brain to play, and will be pretty hard to ignore. I believe he will play limited overs cricket for England.
Personally, it’s great to be back in contention for our next two NatWest T20 Blast home games, against Birmingham tonight and Worcestershire on Sunday.
Since last playing for the first team in the Championship at Scarborough, I had a week with the second team last week and a little bit of time just to train and reset myself.
We played two T20s and a three-day game against Northants. I scored a hundred and a 30-odd in the T20s and 97 in my only innings in the three-day game.
This week I’ve just recharged the batteries, put some more gym work in and hit a few balls.
It hasn’t been ideal being out of the first team. I’d have much preferred whacking a few balls in the Blast. But, in the end, I don’t think it’s been the worst thing to have had a period where I could chill out, start again and get myself in a good place for when next selected.
I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball well all season, but it hasn’t transferred into the runs I’d want. To be able to go back to the seconds and reconfirm that was just what I needed.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore can’t play against Worcestershire on Sunday, so it might afford me an opportunity where hopefully I can give it a good go.