Former England international Gary Ballance has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 33.
The left-hander signed a two-year deal to play for his native Zimbabwe late last year after being released from Yorkshire.
Ballance scored an unbeaten 137 in his only Test appearance for Zimbabwe, adding to the four he made with England, and also featured in five ODIs and one T20, but has now decided to call time on his career.
“After much thought, I have decided to retire from all forms of professional cricket with immediate effect,” Ballance said in a statement issued by the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
“I had hoped my move to Zimbabwe would provide me with a new-found happiness for the game and I will always be thankful to Zimbabwe Cricket for providing me with an opportunity to return to international cricket and welcoming me into their team.
“However, I have reached the stage where I no longer have the desire to dedicate myself to the rigours of professional sport and this would do Zimbabwe Cricket and the game itself a disservice, should I carry on. I wish them every success going forward.”
In January, Ballance accepted the Cricket Discipline Commission charges against him in relation to claims of racist behaviour at Yorkshire. Ballance admitted his guilt to five charges, including the use of racist language.
The left-hander played 23 Tests for England between 2013 and 2017, scoring 1,498 runs with four hundreds and seven half-centuries. He was part of the Yorkshire teams which won the County Championship in 2014 and 2015 too.
“I have been fortunate to have some incredibly memorable moments in cricket, winning County Championships with Yorkshire and gaining the ultimate honour of representing England and Zimbabwe,” Ballance said.
Gary Ballance was part of Yorkshire teams which won the County Championship
“I want to thank all of my clubs, coaches, support staff, teammates and supporters for their guidance and encouragement over my career, it has been a privilege.
“It is now time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.
“I will be making no further comments on my decision at this time.”