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Gary Ballance

England and Zimbabwe international Ballance retires from cricket



Photo: Gary Ballance

|| AFP ||

Former England Test batter Gary Ballance has announced his retirement from cricket, just three months after resuming his international career with Zimbabwe.

Ballance, 33, played 23 Tests and 16 one-day internationals for England but last featured for the team in 2017 as he battled loss of form and struggles with mental health.

He was also caught up in the Yorkshire racism scandal, apologising last year to Pakistan-born Azeem Rafiq for "racist" language he had used towards his former team-mate at the county club.

Ballance left Yorkshire last year and signed a two-year deal with his native country, but his return to top-flight cricket was a brief one and he has now quit with immediate effect.

The left-hander scored an unbeaten 137 in his only Test appearance for Zimbabwe in February -- adding to the four Test hundreds made with England -- and also featured in five ODIs and one Twenty20 match for the African nation.

Despite his recent success, Ballance said the time was right to retire.

"After much thought, I have decided to retire from all forms of professional cricket with immediate effect," he said in a statement issued via 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."