Ignore the fact he was pretty naff in his solitary Test in Australia. Ignore his mediocre start to ODI cricket. Ignore his birth place. Ignore the idea that there is a perfectly good southern African batsman with over 8000 Test runs out there who’d probably be a pretty good solution to any batting line up problems England might have. Even ignore the fact that he’s not Joe Root!
Actually, that last one can be celebrated. Cos Big Gazza Ballzy is The Future! Possibly even The Present! I hereby give you permission to boldly proclaim that Gary Ballance is going to end up top run scorer in Tests for England this summer, and that he’ll bag himself at least 15 Test tons by the climax of his wonderful, wonderful career.
My obvious love of Robert Key is never far from the surface here. Ballance doesn’t quite carry Key’s frame, but he’s not far off. If you blur your eyes slightly, drink too much and then completely ignore Key’s statistics and batting style, including his right-handedness, then they are practically identical.
Speaking of statistics: 24 years of age, 21 First Class tons at an average of 54, backed up by an average of 54 in ‘List A’ matches which includes another 6 tons. That’s, *gasp!*, better than…Graeme Hick*!!
*nothing is better than Graeme Hick.