By BBC News
Batter Gary Ballance has retired from cricket, saying he “no longer has the desire to dedicate himself” to professional sport.
The 33-year-old played 40 times for England, including 23 Tests between 2014 and 2017, and later six times for Zimbabwe – the country of his birth.
He signed a two-year deal with Zimbabwe in December after being released by Yorkshire amid the racism scandal.
“It is now time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life,” he said.
“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.”
In November 2021, Ballance admitted using racist language towards his former Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq.
Ballance apologised to Rafiq and accepted a charge of bringing the game into disrepute by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
In February he became the second person to hit a Test century for two countries after making 137 not out for Zimbabwe against West Indies.
He scored 157 runs in five ODIs at an average of 39.25 for Zimbabwe earlier this year – his last international appearance coming in March.
The left-hander played for Yorkshire between 2008 and 2022, winning the County Championship in 2014 and 2015.
In 2020 he took a break from cricket to manage “some heightened feelings of anxiety and stress” and missed much of the 2022 season to focus on his mental health after admitting he was responsible for some of the allegations made by Rafiq.
Ballance scored 1,019 runs in his first 10 Tests, making him the ninth-fastest man to reach 1,000 Test runs, but faded afterwards and played his last match for England in 2017.
“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, team-mates and supporters for their guidance and encouragement over my career, it has been a privilege.”