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Gary Ballance (middle) being congratulated by Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine before an ODI match in Harare against Ireland in January after completing his switch from England.


‘Gary Ballance felt a surge of unease’: More to new Zim batter’s shock retirement



GARY Ballance’s shock retirement from cricket, just four months after switching allegiance from England to his native Zimbabwe, has raised eyebrows, with multiple sources stating that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

The 33-year-old former England batsman brought an abrupt end to his short Zimbabwe career when he announced through the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) on Wednesday that he had “reached the stage where I no longer have the desire to dedicate myself to the rigours of professional sport,” adding that he would have been doing Zimbabwe “a disservice” if he carried on.

Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has not issued a statement regarding the surprise turn of events.

Harare-born Ballance played for Zimbabwe for the first time in a home ODI series against Ireland but showed his real worth to the African side with a record Test century on debut against West Indies in Bulawayo in February to help save the first match for the Chevrons.

But as he has expected, reviving his international career, even with Zimbabwe, has not helped Ballance to relax and enjoy the game following his racism at English county side Yorkshire.

“He has played at the highest level, for one of the best teams in the world, and proved himself,” said an insider close to Zimbabwe’s players.

“But he hasn’t adjusted easily to playing for Zimbabwe, a smaller side, with all the negative attention brought by the Yorkshire saga. Whenever he has played for Zimbabwe in those few games, he felt a surge of overwhelming panic and uneasiness. He hasn’t felt confident at all.”

Ballance, we were told, had not been in the right frame of mind when he made the decision to become an international cricketer again.

“It could be mental illness,” added our source. “The Zimbabwe move hasn’t been the smooth transition back to normality that everybody had hoped for.”-STAFF WRITER