Ballance's Blog - season opener

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We start the County Championship season at Taunton on Sunday as we take on Somerset and there are high expectations around the club, we are obviously aiming to win the Championship so we will be doing our very best to do that.

We improved a lot last year and if we can go one better we will give ourselves a chance. We have to start all competitions well and then you are in with a chance. Realistically being in the hunt to give ourselves a chance in the latter part of the season is vital.

We know a positive result will give everybody at the Yorkshire confidence which will follow a really good pre-season. We had a warm-up game with Northampton this week which we won and it was good to get a game in before the season starts.

The lads got a few overs under their belts and a few runs on the board, I spent a bit of time in the middle so I’m feeling good and hitting it well in the nets so I’m looking forward to the start of the season now.

There was one negative from the game and that was Jonny Bairstow broke his finger and will miss the first weeks of the season. He started pre-season very well, he hit a hundred in the university game and he was looking forward to starting the year so it is a loss but I’m sure he’ll come back in around a month and be better for it. 

We have Andrew Hodd who is a brilliant keeper and an excellent team man so he will give us something. We will miss Jonny but he was away a lot last year and Hoddy did a great job behind the stumps in helping the team. He is such an enthusiastic guy so he will come into the team and do a good job.

The club have already announced the squad for the four-day game and we will be travelling down to Somerset on Saturday morning.

It’s great to welcome back our captain Andrew Gale because he’s a top captain and had a very good season with the bat last year so it’s great to have him back and knowing him I know he is raring to go and get stuck into the season ahead.

I stood in for Gayley in the two games we’ve played in pre-season and it was great to lead the boys and I did so with pride.

We have quite a young squad but there are a few of us who have played the last few years. In some ways I feel like a senior player because of captaining the last two games but I feel like I have a lot to learn. With players like Gayley and Ryan Sidebottom they have a mountain of experience to learn from.

People have been asking me questions about getting in that England team for the opening Test of the summer and there are definitely openings out there.

All I am looking to do is score big runs to get my name out there to try and get into that Test squad for the first game but I am not looking that far ahead. I want to start well and hopefully bring a win back to Headingley.

Off the field it has been a tough winter to switch off and get some time away from cricket. It was a busy winter, I had a few weeks off so I went to Zimbabwe, played a bit of golf and relaxed a little bit to switch off from the game so I am fresh and ready for the season.

I’m going to be writing regular blogs on the GiveMeSport website which are in conjunction with my Facebook page which you can visit here.

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