It is learnt that both players left because of the toll bubble life was taking on them
“To all the Islamabad and PSL fans, I am extremely sorry to have to leave the tournament early,” Hales wrote on Instagram. “Unfortunately, the last four months away from home in Covid bubbles has taken a considerable toll on me. The BBL bubble being enforced midway through the tournament was unexpected and the PSL bubble has been understandably very strict and unfortunately it has just all caught up with me.
“I would like to thank everyone at Islamabad for understanding and respecting my position. Coach Azhar [Mahmood] and Shadab [Khan] are exceptional leaders, who are supported off the field so well by Rehan [Ulhaq] and the guys, and I’ve no doubt they can win the tournament from here. I will be following it all very closely from home and look forward to coming back next year all being well.”
Hales was among the 20-plus contingent of English players across the six PSL franchises in his fifth PSL season. Hales’ England career was put on hold in 2019 because of what Eoin Morgan called “trust” issues, after Hales put their 2019 World Cup campaign at risk with the timing of his drugs ban.
However, Hales has been playing T20 leagues around the world, having also featured in the BBL earlier this year. Over the weekend, he was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL auction for INR 1.5 crore (USD 200,000 approx.).
Duckett, on other hand, came to Pakistan from the BBL after finishing as Brisbane Heat’s leading scorer but couldn’t continue the same kind of form for Gladiators in the PSL. He played four games for them with little success. He also found it tough to get into the top three because of the presence of Jason Roy and James Vince. He scored 11, 47, 2 and 0 during the Karachi leg and was benched for the Lahore leg.
He tweeted on Monday announcing he would leave for England to spend time at home and prepare for the summer ahead, while also mentioning it was his “first proper experience of hotel bubbles”.
Another English import, left-arm seamer Luke Wood, is out of the competition through injury and will return to the UK soon. Gladiators have also brought in Mohammad Irfan, as a replacement for Mohammad Hasnain, whose bowling action was recently found to be illegal.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent