India v England: Gary Ballance lacks confidence, says Michael Vaughan

Gary Ballance

Ballance averages 18 with the bat in his last eight England innings

England cannot pick “shot for confidence” Gary Ballance for the forthcoming Tests against India, says former England captain Michael Vaughan.

Yorkshire’s Ballance scored 24 runs in four innings as England drew last month’s Test series in Bangladesh 1-1.

The 26-year-old scored 590 runs in his first 10 Test innings but averages 18 in his last eight.

Vaughan said: “He’s not looking like anything the player he was when he first came into international cricket.”

Zimbabwe-born Ballance replaced Jonathan Trott in England’s batting order after the Warwickshire right-hander retired from international cricket.

New Zealand and Australia exposed the Yorkshire batsman’s technique last year and he was dropped for the third Ashes Test.

Vaughan, who captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests between 1999 and 2008, told BBC Radio 5 live that Kent’s Sam Billings should replace Ballance for the first of five Tests against India, which starts on 9 November.

“He looks shot for gameplan,” added Vaughan.

“He’s had his technique questioned. As soon as the ball swings or spins his technique doesn’t look like it’s going to give him any whereabouts of how to survive long enough.

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England will learn from defeat – Trevor Bayliss

“That’s my real concern in this England side – they’ve only got Jos Buttler to replace Gary Ballance in the middle of the innings.

“If I was England, I’d be getting another right hander sent out to India as soon as possible. I’d go for Sam Billings.

“If you speak to former England batsman Graham Thorpe, he says Sam Billings is the best player of spin.

“I don’t think it’s being negative, it’s just being sensible. You realise you need more right-handers, you need more competition in that middle of the innings.

“They’ve left themselves short of options in that middle order.”

Sam Billings

Billings has played six ODIs for England

Vaughan said the only way England could compete with India, the world’s top-ranked side, was to “park the bus”.

“They haven’t got enough expertise or wow factor with the ball to be able to blow India away. They have to try and stay in the game,” he said.

“If they try and play this expansive way India will just laugh and have them on toast and it will be a 5-0 whitewash. No question about it.

“If you want to call it negative cricket, play negative cricket. The only way they can compete is to try and frustrate them and try to force the error.”

Difficult assignment ahead – Bayliss

England head coach Trevor Bayliss said England had no plans to schedule any warm-up matches between now and the end of the series with India.

Following the five Tests, England play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 matches, with the final one on 1 February.

“We don’t want to get to the third or fourth Test in India and everyone’s shot mentally and physically,” he said.

“I think if the players take the right messages and learn the right things from these two matches, that will stand us in good stead heading forward, which we know is going to be an even more difficult assignment in India.”

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