Yorkshire have agreed to release Gary Ballance from his contract with the club.
The former England batsman, who played 23 Tests and 16 ODIs, met his former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq in August to apologise for racist language used while they played together at the county and was absent from side in the 2022 season with mental-health issues.
“We are sad to see Gary go, but he leaves with our best wishes,” said Darren Gough, the managing director of Yorkshire Cricket. “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, who is one of seven people set to face a hearing after being charged by the ECB with a breach of their code of conduct and anti-discrimination code over the Rafiq allegations, had two years remaining on his Yorkshire contract and the agreement that sees him leave dictates that he will not play for another County Championship side in the 2023 season.
“It has been a privilege to play for this great club,” said Ballance. “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.”