GARY BALLANCE has departed Yorkshire County Cricket Club after a request to have his contract ended was accepted.

Ballance’s contract had two years remaining on it, having been signed to run until 2024.

As part of an agreement upon his release, the left-handed batsman will not play for another County Championship side in the upcoming 2023 season.

Ballance’s request to be released comes after a period on the sidelines, as the 33-year-old faced challenges to his mental health.

“It has been a privilege to play for this great club,” noted 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 an 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.”

Ballance, who was born in Zimbabwe and moved to England in 2006, has played for Yorkshire since 2008.

He joined Yorkshire after spending a season at Derbyshire and went on to represent England internationally, between 2013 and 2017.

“We are sad to see Gary go, but he leaves with our best wishes,” noted managing director of Yorkshire Cricket Darren Gough.

“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.”

Yorkshire are readying themselves for a season in division two of the LV = County Championship.

At the conclusion of the last campaign, Yorkshire were relegated after Warwickshire, with whom they were battling for safety, beat Hampshire by five runs, leaving Yorkshire unable to catch them.

For the 2023 term in division two, Yorkshire will be led by Pakistan batter Shan Masood, who joined from Derbyshire on a two-year contract.