LONDON. – Yorkshire have released ex-England batter Gary Ballance from his contract at his request, two years before it was due to end.
Ballance, 33, is a former Zimbabwe youth international and has revealed he is open to playing for his country of birth.
He missed most of the 2022 season and leaves under the agreement that he will not play for another County Championship side in 2023.
In November 2021, he admitted using racist language towards Azeem Rafiq in the midst of a club racism scandal.
“I am grateful for their understanding as we have reached agreement,” he said.
“I have gone through a challenging period – and after much discussion I decided, with my family, it would be right to make a change.
“The support Yorkshire has given me off the pitch over the past year has been fantastic and I am appreciative of the club’s help, but I hope that my decision will mean that my career can have a fresh start”.
Former club captain Ballance played 23 Tests for England and 16 ODIs between 2014 and 2017.
He was charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2021 relating to racism allegations, with a hearing set to take place next year.
In August, Rafiq said he had accepted an apology from Ballance and called for his former Yorkshire team-mate to be “allowed to get on with his life”.
“We are sad to see Gary go, but he leaves with our best wishes. He has been a mainstay of our side for many years, and a superb batsman,” Yorkshire managing director Darren Gough said.
“As a club, we recognise that the last 18 months have been difficult for Gary, for numerous reasons, and the most important thing for him is to get better and play again. “He felt he could not do this at Headingley, and we agreed to his request reluctantly, knowing that it was the right decision for him personally”. – BBC Sport