Ballance fully fit for England return


Gary Ballance has allayed concerns over his fitness by stating he will be ready to make his England return in the first Test against Pakistan this week.

Ballance was last week recalled for the first match of the series, which starts on Thursday, a year after the left-hander was dropped during the Ashes series against Australia.

The Zimbabwe-born batsman sat out Yorkshire's T20 Blast win over Derbyshire last weekend due to a slight groin injury, but will be ready to take on Pakistan.

He told ESPNcricinfo: "It was just a precaution with Yorkshire having so much cricket in the last few months. I thought it best to rest it up with a Test coming up now. But I'm absolutely fine now, I'm ready to go."

Ballance admitted he was not expecting to get the chance to replace Nick Compton, who opted to take a break from the game after a disappointing Test series against Sri Lanka.

"It was great to get the call last week." he added. "I'm over the moon to be back in the squad and back here at Lord's. I can't wait to get started.

"I didn't expect the phone call, it was a bit of a surprise, but the motivation was there and I was so happy to be back in the squad and get another opportunity.

"The last few weeks have gone well for me. I feel in good form and pretty confident that I can take that form into the first Test."