England all-rounder Michael Yardy has left the World Cup squad and returned home as he is suffering from depression, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed today.
The 30-year-old Sussex man, who has played a bit-part role during the tournament but has been a regular on the one-day scene over the last two years, is flying back to England immediately after discussions with the squad's medical team.
A statement from the ECB read: "The decision was taken in close consultation with the England medical team after it was agreed Yardy should return home immediately to receive the best possible advice and support as he seeks to overcome an illness he has been managing for a prolonged period of time."
Yardy, who will now miss Saturday's quarter-final with Sri Lanka, added: "Leaving at this stage of a World Cup campaign was a very difficult decision to make but I felt that it was the only sensible option for me and I wanted to be honest about the reason behind that decision.
"I would like to wish the squad all the very best ahead of the game on Saturday. I would appreciate some privacy over the coming weeks while I spend time with family and close friends ahead of what I hope will be a successful season for Sussex."
Yardy is not the first England cricketer to admit a battle with the illness.
Former opener Marcus Trescothick had to retire from international cricket after suffering from depression.
Hugh Morris, the ECB's managing director, said: "I would like to offer my full support to Michael on behalf of everyone involved with the England team and the ECB.
"Michael has been an integral part of the England set up in recent years and while he will be missed in the knock-out stages of the World Cup, our priority now is to ensure that he returns home to his family and is able to spend time recovering with a strong support network around him. "
Yardy has played his entire career with Sussex, and their professional cricket manager Mark Robinson has pledged to do everything he can to help his player.
In a statement he said: "Sussex are very proud of Michael Yardy and very supportive of his decision, not only to come home but also to be prepared to go public with the reasons.
"He's always been a person admired for his utmost honesty and integrity, and his courage in dealing with this issue emphasises that. As captain and one of our leading players, we'll give him all the time and all the support necessary so that he can continue to lead this club forward.
"As a club we request that everybody, including both supporters and the media, respects his privacy as he looks to spend some time with his family, having been away for five months. In due course, Michael will make a statement and in the meantime the club, its members and supporters wish him a speedy recovery."