YORKSHIRE will be without Joe Root and Gary Ballance for the trip to county champions Durham after the duo were called up by new England coach Peter Moores yesterday.
They were included in the squad to face Scotland in Aberdeen a week today and Yorkshire were told they would not be able to figure in the four-day Division One game at the Riverside, which starts on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Ballance struck his second century of the embryonic campaign at Lord’s this week, when a double-century from Australian Chris Rogers led Middlesex to a stunning seven-wicket victory.
Ballance’s 130 from just 143 balls included six sixes and he expressed hope then that his eye-catching innings would get him into the England squad for the game against Scotland which is a warm-up for the five-match series against Sri Lanka which begins 11 days later.
The Zimbabwe-born batsman said at headquarters: “Obviously it would be nice to be picked but there are so many good players around the country, so many talented youngsters who are coming through.
“As I have said before, I just need to keep scoring as many runs as I can for Yorkshire and the rest will take care of itself.
“It was nice to get a few ODI games in Australia, and I got one decent score. I have felt like my game has improved since then, and, hopefully, I can kick on from that.”
A run of four hundreds in his last seven matches, stretching back to the close of the 2013 season, means Ballance is certainly a man in form.
“It went well at the end of last season and it is nice to kick on at the start of this season,” he added. “I want to keep working hard and keep getting those big scores.”
While Ballance earned an early-season reward for his form with the bat there was no place for fellow hopeful Sam Robson, who impressed greatly in Middlesex’s stunning win over Yorkshire earlier this week, putting on 181 runs for the opening partnership with Rogers as the hosts recorded the third highest successful run-chase in Championship history, when reaching 472-3.
Yorkshire were led at Lord’s by Root, who scored a half-century in the second innings on his return to action after breaking a thumb.
His place at the Riverside on Sunday will be taken by captain Andrew Gale, who dropped out of the side at Lord’s.
Nottinghamshire’s left-arm seamer Harry Gurney is the only uncapped player to make the trip to Aberdeen next week, although he did tour West Indies with England earlier this year, while Ballance’s fellow relative newcomer Moeen Ali also retained his place in a 13-man party.
The squad is the result of the first meeting of a revamped selection group convened by James Whitaker and containing Moores, Angus Fraser and Mick Newell.
There are no shock omissions, although former Yorkshire batsman Michael Lumb might feel somewhat aggrieved after making a century on his ODI debut in February, while Alex Hales may have fancied his chances in the 50-over format having hit England’s first Twenty20 hundred in an otherwise miserable tournament in Bangladesh.
Middlesex’s Steven Finn, meanwhile, has been left out once again as he strives to find both top form and consistency following a troubled winter which saw him sent home early from Australia by England.
Lumb and Hales both play under Newell at Nottinghamshire, while Finn is a protege of Fraser at Middlesex, and the omission of all three is an early indication that there will be no conflict of interest from England’s two new selectors.
Finn’s continued absence, though not unexpected, leaves Moores’s one-day pace options limited.
Gurney is one of only three specialist seamers alongside James Anderson, back on one-day duty for the first time since last summer, and seven-cap Chris Jordan.
Stuart Broad’s persistent patella tendinitis rules him out, while Tim Bresnan has yet to play first-team cricket for Yorkshire this season.
Fast bowling all-rounder Ben Stokes is also recovering from the broken wrist sustained when he punched a locker in the Caribbean, opening the door for Chris Woakes’s return.
The batting ranks look better stocked and more familiar, with captain Alastair Cook supported by regulars Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Sheffield-born Root.
Gooch axed: Page 23.