After Yorkshire release, Gary Ballance set to play for Zimbabwe by signing a two-year contract

Harare, Dec 9 (IANS): Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on Friday announced that Gary Ballance has agreed a two-year contract to play domestic and international cricket in and for the country of his birth.

This follows the Harare-born left-handed batter's release from his contract with county cricket side Yorkshire on Thursday. Between 2014 and 2017, Ballance featured for England, playing 23 Tests, scoring four centuries at an average of 37.45, as well as 16 ODI appearances.

Before moving abroad, he had starred for Zimbabwe at the ICC Under-19 Men's Cricket World Cup in 2006 while still a schoolboy at Peterhouse Boys School in Marondera.

"I'm thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket and can't wait to start work with some great coaches and talented players. The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new-found passion and excitement for the game."

"I have kept in touch with a number of people within Zimbabwe cricket over the years and it has been great to watch their recent progress especially," said Ballance, 33, in an official statement.

Ballance did not play for Yorkshire since the end of the 2021 season, having taken a lengthy break from cricket to manage his mental health, especially when Azeem Rafiq named him in his explosive testimony during the DCMS parliamentary hearings in Westminster last November.

Ballance had been supported by the club that time and went on to apologise to Rafiq. In being released by Yorkshire, originally supposed to run till 2024 season, he had said that he will not be seeking to play for any other county side in County Championship 2023.

"We are elated to have Gary, an immensely talented and experienced cricketer, back home where it all started for him. He is a great addition to our domestic and international set-up and we are looking forward to him making a massive difference for us," said Hamilton Masakadza, ZC Director of Cricket.



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Title: After Yorkshire release, Gary Ballance set to play for Zimbabwe by signing a two-year contract

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