PSL 2022 – England batters Alex Hales, Ben Duckett pull out of PSL


It is learnt that both players left because of the toll bubble life was taking on them

Islamabad United batter Alex Hales has pulled out of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) because of personal reasons. ESPNcricinfo has learnt it is because of Hales experiencing tiredness in the bubble life. England and Quetta Gladiators batter Ben Duckett has also withdrawn from the league, aiming to spend time with his family ahead of the English season in the summer, while also mentioning bubble life in his tweet to announce his departure.

“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.”

With Rahmanullah Gurbaz also departing for international duty, United have signed another English batter, the uncapped Will Jacks – who has enjoyed a productive spell with Chattogram Challengers in the BPL – while Gladiators have opted to bring back Will Smeed, who played three games earlier in the competition, which included scoring 97 off 62 balls against Peshawar Zalmi.

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.).

Hales had been part of last five PSL seasons and part of all the editions played in Pakistan. He was in his second stint with United, having won the league once with Karachi Kings in the past, and he has been one of the league’s standout openers, averaging over 42.50 for his 255 runs at a strike rate 156.44. This season, he was retained by United in the Gold category with a mentor’s role as well, and started out with a 54-ball unbeaten 82 in their first match.

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

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