Former England batter Gary Ballance has signed a two-year contract with Zimbabwe Cricket.

The 33-year-old was granted a release from his Yorkshire contract on Thursday after a challenging period in which he endured struggles with his mental health.

Ballance last year admitted to using racist and offensive language towards his Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq said he had accepted an apology from Ballance, who was suspended for an indefinite period from England selection.

Left-hander Ballance, who played for England 39 times, was unable to play for another county in 2023 as part of the agreement for his release by Yorkshire and it was announced on Friday he is set to play domestic and international cricket in and for his country of his birth.

"I'm thrilled to be joining Zimbabwe Cricket and can't wait to start work with some great coaches and talented players," Ballance said.

"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."