Gary Ballance released from Yorkshire contract | ‘I have gone through a challenging period’

Gary Ballance has left Yorkshire after the county agreed to the former England batter’s request to terminate his contract.

The left-hander still had two years to run on his contract at Headingley following a challenging period on the sidelines, including struggles with his mental health.

As part of the agreement, Ballance will not play for another County Championship team in the 2023 season.

Yorkshire managing director Darren Gough said: “We are sad to see Gary go, but he leaves with our best wishes.

“He has been a mainstay of our side for many years, and a superb batsman. As a club, we recognise that the last 18 months have been difficult for Gary, for numerous reasons, and the most important thing for him is to get better and play again.

“He felt he could not do this at Headingley, and we agreed to his request reluctantly but knowing that it was the right decision for him personally.”

Ballance said: “It has been a privilege to play for this great club. On a personal level, I have gone through a challenging period – and after much discussion I decided, together with my family, that it would be right to make a change.

“I asked the club if it was willing to release me from my contract, and I am grateful for its understanding as we have reached agreement.

“The support Yorkshire has given me off the pitch over the past year has been fantastic and I am appreciative of the club’s help, but I hope that my decision will mean that my career can have a fresh start.”

The 32-year-old admitted to using a racial slur against Azeem Rafiq in a lengthy statement back in November and later apologised in person during a meeting with Rafiq in London this week.

Ballance last played for Yorkshire in September. He was charged by the ECB in June of this year for bringing the game into disrepute, along with six other individuals and the club itself following Rafiq’s initial allegations of racism and harassment levelled at the club.

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