For more information you can call 0808 1684 655 alternatively you can click here to see our full list of contacts

Ballance earns place in North-South Series

Yorkshire‘s new captain Gary Ballance has earned an automatic invitation to next year’s North-South Series through his consistent performances in the Professional Cricketers’ Association Most Valuable Player Rankings qualifying stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Ballance became the first batsman in county cricket to pass 1,000 runs for 2017 in all cricket with the innings of 71 from 66 balls last night at Headingley which helped Yorkshire secure a home play-off in the RLODC on June 13 – leaving them two more wins from a place in the final at Lord’s on July 1.

Those runs earned him 10 rankings points and lifted Ballance to 11th in the PCA MVP for the competition.

Ballance in action in the Royal London One Day Cup.

That makes him the fourth highest-placed England-qualified player from the North Group – and that means Ballance will be invited to join the North squad who will aim to make amends for the 3-0 whitewash inflicted by the South in the inaugural series in the UAE earlier this year.

The PCA MVP Rankings system identifies the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic season.

The formula takes into account conditions, quality of opposition, captaincy and strike-rates as well as runs scored and wickets taken.

Derbyshire Falcons all-rounder Shiv Thakor was the highest-placed player from the North in the rankings, second behind Glamorgan’s South African import Colin Ingram, with a half-century in their last group game against Worcestershire Rapids.

Thakor earned eight PCA MVP points for that innings and added four more bowling points, which helped him to overtake Durham’s Keaton Jennings.

Shiv Thakor celebrating with a teammate.

Jennings, who captained the North in the inaugural series, was the next best from the North Group. He is in line for the opportunity to lead the bid to make amends – although his availability may depend on England’s Test schedule next spring, as the dates and venues of the 2018 North-South Series have still to be confirmed.

Warwickshire batsman Sam Hain also earned the chance to make a second appearance in the series having earned 103 rankings points and scored two centuries and two half centuries in a productive 50 overs campaign.

Lancashire all-rounder Jordan Clark just missed out on an automatic invitation for the North as injury ruled him out of their last game at Durham and handed Ballance the chance to overtake him – although the Cumbrian’s hopes of representing the North are far from over, with the England selectors to finalise a 13-man squad at the end of the season.

Clark’s county teammate Dane Vilas finished the RLODC with a century against Durham, his second in Lancashire’s last four matches, and tenth place in the competition rankings table.

The four automatic invitations to the South squad will be finalised in the last round of fixtures in the South Group tonight.

As things stand the former England Test captain Alastair Cook is the leading contender, followed by Hampshire captain James Vince – who led the South to their 3-0 triumph in 2017 – Kent opener Daniel Bell-Drummond, and Gloucestershire’s left-arm seamer Chris Liddle.

Kent veteran Darren Stevens, who is the leader of this season’s overall PCA MVP, Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara, Gloucestershire seamer Benny Howell and Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes are all in striking distance.

All those players are in action tonight, when Essex Eagles cross the Thames to face Kent Spitfires needing a point to secure a home semi final.

The full PCA MVP Rankings table can be viewed here.