Second Pakistani overseas player to join Haris Rauf for 2022 season
Yorkshire are not openly saying that they are deliberately majoring on Pakistan-based talent to build trust after the racism allegations levelled by Azeem Rafiq plunged the county into one of the deepest crisis in its history, but it is pretty self-evident.
Ottis Gibson, Yorkshire’s coach was delighted at the prospect. “He’s a fantastic T20 player. I was in the PSL and he was player of the tournament, I think, making runs, taking wickets, full of energy. He brings a lot. In T20 cricket, you like all your players to be three-dimensional and he’s definitely a three-dimensional player that will add value with bat, ball and in the field.”
Ballance’s mental health issues remain a private affair, although it seems fair to observe in passing, without jumping to conclusions, that he received considerable criticism for his role in Rafiq’s racism allegations.
Gough said: “Obviously, that’s a serious situation, so we just want to support him the best we can and give him the space that’s required. I would like to think that people give him that space as well because it’s a serious illness, mental health.
“Having lost two of my best friends to suicide, we will give him as much time as he possibly needs to make sure he’s in the right frame of mind to play cricket again. However long that takes.”
Gibson suggested he had said: “‘Just get yourself down here, back to your happy place in Headingley and come and play some cricket with your mates’. He’s going to take a break now and I believe he’ll be back for the last two or three four-day games, near the back end of April.”
David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps