Former Yorkshire striker Gary Ballance has agreed to play for Zimbabwe, the country’s cricket board has said.
The announcement comes a day after Yorkshire released the 33-year-old from his contract at the player’s request.
“The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new passion and excitement for the game,” he said.
In November 2021, Ballance admitted to using racist language towards his former Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq.
Ballance was charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2021 over allegations of racism, with a hearing should take place next year.
In August, Rafiq said he had accepted Ballance’s apology and asked that his former Yorkshire team-mate be ‘allowed to carry on with his life’.
Ballance played 23 Tests for England and 16 One-Day Internationals between 2014 and 2017.
International Cricket Council rules state that a player can switch allegiance between full member nations if there has been a three-year gap since the last time he played for the country from which he changes.
Zimbabwe’s next series will see them face Ireland in three Twenty20s and three ODIs in January.
“We are delighted to have Gary, a hugely talented and experienced cricketer, back home where it all started for him,” Zimbabwe Cricket director of cricket Hamilton Masakadza said.
“He is a great addition to our national and international organization and we look forward to him making a huge difference for us.”