GARY BALLANCE is looking to push his game forwards in 2020 and believes new signings Dawid Malan and Ravi Ashwin can help.

Ballance has been a linchpin in Yorkshire’s top order and has been their leading run-scorer in Specsavers County Championship cricket for each of the last three seasons.

He has totalled a combined 2,832 runs from 38 matches with 11 50s and as many 100-plus scores. Without doubt, ‘Mr Consistency’.

So how does a player of Ballance’s quality step up another level this summer?

“There’s definite improvement to be had,” said the 30-year-old former captain. “I don’t just want to stand still. I’ve looked at what I did last year and will hopefully be able to replicate that and then add a few things here and there.

“I have to make sure there’s no complacency. Just because last year and the ones before went well, it doesn’t mean this one will.

“I certainly still have that hunger for runs. Backing my defence last year was massive, and I’ve gone back to that this winter.

“Also, when you look at who is around the circuit this year, there is plenty of quality spin around. Nathan Lyon at Hampshire, for example. You are going to have to play well against world-class spinners. You don’t always get that in county cricket, and that’s something which I have been looking at.

“Being able to face Ravi in the nets for a long period of time can only be beneficial. You always want to test yourself against the best bowlers in the world, so to have one in our squad will help.”

Malan and Ballance know each other well. Not only have they been opponents on the county circuits for many years, but they were touring buddies during the 2017/18 Ashes series down under.

This summer, they will form part of an exciting White Rose batting unit including the likes of Adam Lyth, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Harry Brook and England duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow when available.

“Signing Dawid with all his international experience and thousands of first-class runs behind him, he will be a great addition for us,” Ballance continued.

“I toured with him for that Ashes series, and he did well. He got a great hundred at Perth, and it showed what a quality player he is.

“He will fit in well with the group. His knowledge of batting will not only be great for the young guys, but I’m sure the likes of myself and Lythy can pick things up from him. It’s not often you get the opportunity to add a world-class player to your squad when signing domestically, so it’s great that we managed to do that.

“I’m always looking for ways to get better, and to practice and play with someone who has achieved what he has will be great. I will look at what he does, how he trains, that sort of thing and see if I can pick up anything from him.

“He’s been very successful in T20, so there are definite areas there which I can look at to improve.”

Ballance is currently nursing a broken finger on his left hand. It would have likely stopped him playing during Yorkshire’s pre-season tour of Mumbai, which was cut short anyway on Friday due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but he is already back facing balls in the nets and is confident of a speedy recovery.

“I was batting in the nets and got a short ball which caught the end of my finger with no padding on the glove,” he added. “I’ll be alright for the start of the season.”