Houghton in talks with Ballance, Byrom

24 Jul, 2022 - 00:07 0 Views
Houghton in talks with Ballance, Byrom Dave Houghton

The Sunday News

Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
AS he looks to strengthen the Zimbabwe senior men’s team going forward, coach Dave Houghton has confirmed that he is in talks with the England based duo of batsmen Gary Ballance and Eddie Byrom.

Gary Ballance

Balance and Byrom both qualify to play for Zimbabwe. Since Houghton is related to Ballance, it is expected that he will try to entice the 32-year-old to give up any hopes of playing for England again and focus on representing the country of his birth.

A former Zimbabwe Under-19 player, Ballance appeared in 23 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals for England from 2013 to 2017. He is now eligible to play for Zimbabwe since he has not played for England for five years.

Houghton indicated that while he is engaging Ballance and Byrom, he wants the two to initiate the process.

The two batsmen, if they agree to represent Zimbabwe will certainly bolster the batting line up especially in the longer version of the game.

In 2017, Zimbabwe Cricket brought back batsman Brendan Taylor and fast bowler Kyle Jarvis from England but the two came at a huge cost since they went on to become the highest paid Zimbabwean cricketers, something that Houghton wants to avoid.

According to Houghton, the talks with Ballance and Byrom have been encouraging, which means the two could play for Zimbabwe in future.

Eddie Byrom

Another player Houghton could look to entice is Ben Curran, the son of the late former Zimbabwe coach, Kevin Curran.

Ben’s brothers, Sam and Tom are still part of the England plans. Dustin Melton, a Zimbabwe born pace bowler who worked with Houghton at Derbyshire is another player who could feature for the country of his birth in the not so distant future.

Melton is leaving Derbyshire at the end of the English domestic season since he is classified as an overseas player, which has hindered his opportunities.

“Gary (Balance) is eligible, Eddy Byrom is eligible.

The rules are that you can play for the country of your birth four years after your last game for the country that you’ve represented.

All of those guys are eligible, only the two Currans will not be eligible because they have played for England recently.

I have spoken to them (Ballance and Byrom) many times, I prefer them to start the conversation because if we are going out there trying to hunt them back, I want them to come back because they want to play for the country.

I think the conversation I’ve had has been positive, I wouldn’t say that there is any likelihood they will be back with us soon but you can never tell for the future,’’ said Houghton.

The 25-year-old Byrom is eligible to play for Zimbabwe since he was born in Harare but also qualifies to represent Ireland since he has an Irish passport. – Follow on Twitter @Mdawini_29

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