Former England international Gary Ballance has announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket.
Ballance, who had recently returned to play for his native Zimbabwe, had signed a two-year deal with Zimbabwe Cricket in late 2022 and played five ODIs, one T20I and a Test for them since his return.
“After much thought, I have decided to retire from all forms of professional cricket with immediate effect,” the 33-year-old said in the 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,” he added.
Ballance played 42 times for England across all three formats, averaging 37.45 in his 23 Tests between 2014 and 2017.
He also slammed a ton for Zimbabwe in his only Test appearance for them in February against West Indies.
The cricketer became eligible to play for Zimbabwe in 2021, and in December 2022 revealed that he had made himself available to play for Zimbabwe.
“The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new-found passion and excitement for the game,” the batter said on revealing his decision to switch national teams at the time,” Ballance said.
Ballance, a left-hander, had become the second player in the world after Kepler Wessels to make Test centuries for two different nations when he hit his only Test hundred for Zimbabwe earlier this year.
“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.
“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,” he concluded.