Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance. Credits: Twitter

Gary Ballance will play for Zimbabwe in his first-ever international match after being selected for the team to play Ireland in a three-match T20I series later this month.

A day after it was announced that he was leaving Yorkshire, the former England batter inked a two-year deal to play domestic and international cricket in Zimbabwe and for the national squad.

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Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe (PC-Getty Images)

When Zimbabwe announced their lineup for the three-match T20I series against Ireland later in the month, a few important players were absent.

The T20I team for Zimbabwe does not include Sikandar Raza, Blessing Muzarabani, Regis Chakabva, or Milton Shumba for the series that starts in mid-January.

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Sikandar Raza (PC-Getty Images)
Sikandar Raza (PC-Getty Images)

The roster features four changes from the one that competed in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year, the most significant being the addition of former England star Gary Ballance, who recently signed a two-year contract with Zimbabwe cricket to play regional and international cricket.

Ballance’s return is fantastic news, but Zimbabwe will miss their talented all-rounder Raza who is now free to play franchise cricket.

Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava are on hand to support the pace attack since Muzarabani is still recovering from a quad injury.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket”: Gary Ballance

Gary Ballance had a contract with Yorkshire until 2024, but he sought to be released. He has pledged not to play for another County Championship side in 2023, but having signed to play as a Zimbabwean, he can now only play county cricket as an overseas player.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket and can’t wait to start work with some great coaches and talented players,” said Ballance in December.

Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance. Credit: Twitter

“The opportunity to represent Zimbabwe has given me a new-found passion and excitement for the game. I have kept in touch with a number of people within Zimbabwe cricket over the years and it has been great to watch their recent progress especially,” Gary Ballance added.

With games on January 12, 14, and 15, Harare will host the T20I series. Then, on January 18, 21, and 23, an ODI series will be played at the same location. The second ODI’s date was changed from January 20 to January 21.

Squad: Craig Ervine (captain), Gary Ballance, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Clive Madande, Wessley Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Sean Williams