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Zim cricketer on England radar

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ZIMBABWEAN-BORN English first-class cricketer Gary Ballance is knocking on the England national squad after his impressive performance for Yorkshire in the County Championship.

REPORT BY HENRY MHARA

Ballance and his partner Adil Rashid produced a record-breaking partnership to save Yorkshire on day one of the County Championship match with Somerset at Headingley on Tuesday.

With England selectors Geoff Miller and James Whitaker in attendance, the left-handed Ballance, who has previously featured for local side Midwest Rhinos in the Stanbic Twenty20, made 107 runs, while Rashid was unbeaten on 120 at the close with Yorkshire 332 for five.

Missing the Three Lions’ pair of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, the hosts lost both openers cheaply and were in a perilous position of 84 for 4 before the pair’s partnership of 207 — Yorkshire’s highest for the fifth wicket in first-class matches on the ground.

It overtook the 196 between Roy Kilner and George Hirst against Gloucestershire in 1919.

Ballance brought up his hundred off 187 balls and Rashid took only two balls more to reach only the fourth three-figure score of his first-class career, and his first for four years.

Born in Harare on November 22, 1989, Ballance first played in the Second XI Championship in 2006, having made five appearances for Zimbabwe in the 2006
Under-19 World Cup, in which the team finished in sixth place.

In the final match for the team, Ballance scored a half-century, gaining notice from Derbyshire and earned the chance to sign for the team in 2006.

He played his first limited overs match two weeks later, having performed in the Derbyshire Second XI.

At the end of the 2007 season, Ballance left Derbyshire to sign academy terms with Yorkshire. He made his first-class debut for Yorkshire against Kent in July 2008.

In the first-class match against Durham MCC University in April 2011, Ballance scored 72 and 73 not out.

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