Former England cricketer Gary Ballance signs contract with Zimbabwe
Former England batter Gary Ballance has signed a two-year contract to play domestic and international cricket in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) announced the same on Friday (December 9). The left-handed batter has taken an exit from the Yorkshire County Cricket Club to pursue his career in Zimbabwe. He can be seen representing their national team in the coming days. Here are further details.
Why does this story matter?
- Notably, Ballance was born in Zimbabwe only and was initially expected to serve his birth country.
- He even represented the Zimbabwe U-19 team in the 2006 Under-19 World Cup.
- However, to pursue his career, he migrated to England and served the Three Lions.
- As he has been out of the national team since 2015, the 33-year-old has decided to move to Zimbabwe.
What did Ballance say?
"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," Ballance was quoted as saying by ZC.
Yorkshire confirm Ballance's ouster
On December 8, Yorkshire issued a statement saying that the club has agreed to Ballance's request to be released from the contract. "The Yorkshire County Cricket Club has agreed to a request from Gary Ballance to end his contract with the Club," stated the club. Yorkshire also stated that Ballance cited mental health as one of the key reasons behind his massive decision.
Yorkshire accepted Ballance's request
"The left-handed batsman and England international requested the release following a challenging period on the sidelines, including the challenges he has faced to his mental health. The Club has supported the player extensively during this period," said the statement.
Controversy at Yorkshire
Ballance was at the center of controversy last year as he admitted making racist remarks against his teammate Azim Rafiq in Yorkshire. Notably, many Yorkshire officials stepped down from their roles after the matter came to light. Several were fired as well.
A look at his international career
Ballance, who made his international debut in September 2013, played 23 Tests and 16 ODIs for the Brits. He scored 1,498 in the longest format at 37.45. The tally includes four tons and seven fifties. He scored 297 ODI runs at 21.21 with the help of two fifties. The 33-year-old was even a part of England's 2015 ODI World Cup squad.
Prolific run at Yorkshire
Meanwhile, Ballance was a prolific run-scorer for Yorkshire in domestic cricket. So far, he has scored 11,876 runs in 170 First-Class games at 47.31 (50s: 55, 100s: 41). In List A cricket, he boasts 4,540 runs in 119 games at 47.78 (50s: 27, 100s: 8). He has also played 100 T20s, scoring 1,807 runs at 23.16 (50s: 7).