Nasser Hussain surprised by Ballance's inclusion

Nasser Hussain, the commentator and former England captain, has expressed surprise at the inclusion of Gary Ballance in the England squad for the first Test against Pakistan.

Gary Ballance needs to rectify his problems against the short delivery, according to Nasser Hussain.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

Nasser Hussain, the commentator and former England captain, has expressed surprise at the inclusion of Gary Ballance in the England squad for the first Test against Pakistan. With poor returns in an extended run given to Nick Compton, Ballance, who has played 15 Tests, was chosen for a return instead of initiating trials for fresh faces from County cricket.

“It's in no way a dreadful selection, but I would have gone differently,” he wrote in his column for Sky Sports. England’s limited-overs wicketkeeper Jos Buttler could have been given a nod, he wrote.

"Buttler is too good a talent to have just carrying the drinks or out playing in county cricket. Buttler hasn't played a lot of red-ball cricket since he was left out of the Test team, and the selectors obviously wanted to go for someone who has.

'No hiding'

“There is no hiding place in international cricket, and the last time we saw him (Ballance) he had a bit of a problem against left-armers, and against the very full and very short ball. He will need to have ironed out those issues, because one thing is for certain, Pakistan will go at him with the short stuff and the fuller delivery. Plus, they have very good left-armers in their attack, particularly Mohammad Amir."

England plays its first of four Tests on Thursday at Lord’s. Left-arm seamer Amir’s return to England after the scandal-ridden tour of 2010 has generated much buzz. Hussain predicts he will do well.

“It will be very tough for Amir, he will get booed and have 'no-ball' shouted at him, but that comes with the mistake he made. He is a very fine cricketer, though - swings it late and at pace, and will get wickets in the series."