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Gary Ballance announces retirement from professional cricket three months after Zimbabwe debut

Gary Ballance is handed his Zimbabwe cap
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Gary Ballance has announced his retirement from professional cricket with immediate effect.

The 33-year-old recently made his international debuts for Zimbabwe across formats, having previously played for England and Yorkshire.

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

“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. 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.

“I will be making no further comments on my decision at this time.”

Ballance’s move to Zimbabwe followed his involvement in the Yorkshire cricket racism scandal. He pleaded guilty to using racially discriminatory language after being charged with a breach of the ECB’s code of conduct. In 2021, Ballance released a lengthy statement apologising to Azeem Rafiq for repeated use of the slur ‘P**i’, describing him as his “best mate in cricket”.

Ballance made five Test hundreds, four for England and one for Zimbabwe on debut, in what turned out to be his final Test match. After making his debut in the final Test of the 2013/14 Ashes, Ballance enjoyed an excellent start to his career, with four hundreds in the space of nine months from his second Test onwards.

He averaged over 60 with the bat coming into the 2015 summer, but struggled significantly against left-armers Trent Boult and Mitchell Starc, and was dropped part way through England’s 2015 Ashes win. He was recalled in 2016 but was dropped again after England’s 1-1 series draw in Bangladesh, before playing two more Tests in 2017. He also won the County Championship twice with Yorkshire, in 2014 and 2015.

Following a five-year absence, he switched allegiances to his native Zimbabwe, and became just the second cricketer to make a Test century for two countries, after Kepler Wessels.

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