Alex Hales has withdrawn from IPL 2022 citing bio-bubble fatigue and having suffered from Covid himself as reasons for his withdrawal from duty with KKR.
He’s just the latest top quality English T20 player to miss the IPL this season and the second in the space of a couple of weeks to pinpoint bio-bubbles at the reason for his change of heart, after Jason Roy.
Here are the English players missing out on IPL action this season and their reasons for doing so.
Alex Hales (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Hales was playing for the Sydney Thunder in the BBL when he got Covid, meaning he missed a few matches as a result of that.
He then went straight from that bio-bubble to another in the PSL, where he played nine matches for Islamabad United.
Hales was good in the PSL, hitting three fifties and never being dismissed for single figures in nine matches, but he withdrew midway through.
Even at that stage, he was complaining of bio-bubble fatigue, before surprisingly returning to play the Playoffs.
His side were eliminated by Lahore in the Qualifier 2.
But three months of bio-bubbles across two competitions took their toll and Hales has decided he needs a rest from them.
It’s a real shame for Hales because he’s only ever played a handful of matches in the IPL over the years. At SRH, to be more precise.
This would have been one of his last chances to prove himself against the very best, not to mention a last-ditch opportunity to remind the England selectors that he might deserve one final chance to play for his country, especially in a World Cup year.
It also deprives KKR of an in-form batsman with a sky high strike rate, albeit one with little experience of playing in India.
The only winner to come out of this is Aaron Finch, who was brought in as his replacement, on the same money (1.5 Crore) as Hales.
Having played a few games in 2020 for RCB, Finch wasn’t bought by anyone in 2021 and had also originally gone unsold in the 2022 Mega Auction.
But as one of the few overseas world-class openers in T20 cricket who wasn’t bought, Australia skipper Finch was then brought in as Hales’ replacement and will surely open the batting for them, alongside the impressive Venkatesh Iyer.
It will give Finch some much-needed game time at the highest level ahead of the World Cup.
KKR are 11.0 with 10CRIC to win what would be their third IPL title.
Jason Roy (Gujarat Titans)
Roy withdrew for very much the same reason as Hales: bubble fatigue. It’s a concern that cricketers seem to be so mentally affected by being in them and something England interim coach Paul Collingwood discussed when Roy withdrew last week.
But Roy went a step further than Hales, saying he had taken an indefinite break from cricket.
So it will be interesting to see if he plays The Hundred, the CPL or in other T20 leagues before the World Cup, where he will surely feature for England.
Like Hales, he had been playing in the PSL in February.
And like Hales, he put on a good show in his six games, scoring 116 in his first match and 82 in his last, as the Gladiators failed to make it out of the Group Stages.
Roy was replaced by Afghan wicketkeeper batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the Gujarat squad.
Roy was picked up for 2 Crore, while Gurbaz will cost Gujarat his auction base price of 50 Lakh.
Gurbaz is famous for his high-risk, no-nonsense approach to opening the batting where he boasts an excellent strike rate and is seen as one of the game’s most exciting young talents.
But Gurbaz may not get too much game time.
They’ll probably open with Aussie Matthew Wade and Indian youngster Shubman Gill, with Rashid Khan, Lockie Ferguson and one of Dominic Drakes/Alazarri Joseph completing the quartet of overseas players.
But Wade will miss the first week of the IPL on international duty so Gurbaz could get a couple of games before Wade is available.
Gujarat are one of the big outsiders for IPL glory, at best odds of 10.0 with Pure Win.
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The former Rajasthan Royals all-rounder wasn’t retained at the end of the 2021 season, where he played just one game, breaking his hand in the only match he played.
Stokes played little or no cricket for the rest of 2021, nursing his broken hand and feeling like he needed a break from cricket for his mental health, as well.
That included missing out on the World Cup, before an ill-fated return to play in the Ashes. England lost 4-0 and Stokes looked rusty and underprepared.
Which is exactly why Stokes opted out of being in the Mega Auction.
With enough money in the bank, he’s focussed on getting back to his best in order to keep on playing Test cricket, with the other formats more of an after-thought.
Jofra Archer (Mumbai Indians)
The case of Archer is a very different one.
He’s hardly played at all for the best part of 18 months so it was a big surprise when Mumbai paid a small fortune for him in the Auction.
They dished out 8 Crore for the England fast bowler, knowing that he’s highly unlikely to feature in 2022 at all.
So the plan seems to be that they bought him with a view to the seasons after this one.
But they’ll have to wait and see whether he returns to the fitness and playing levels he reached in the past, like when he was the Most Valuable Player of the 2020 edition.
With or without Archer, Mumbai are the 5.5 favourites with 10 CRIC.
Eoin Morgan/Adil Rashid/Dawid Malan
There are plenty more English players who put their names in the hat for the 2022 Auction and who weren’t bought. But these are probably the three most high-profile names.
Rashid and Malan both played just the one game for Punjab last year.
Rashid bowled three overs, which went for 35 runs, and ended wicketless.
Malan scored a run-a-ball 26 in his only outing.
Both will have been frustrated at the lack of chances, especially given that the Kings had a season to forget.
As for England skipper Eoin Morgan, he had a poor season at KKR with the bat, not getting to 50 in 17 matches and having a strike rate under 100.
But KKR had a strong season in 2021 under Morgan’s captaincy, making the final against all odds, before losing it to Chennai.
With none of them finding any suitors and all of them very much on the wrong side of 30, it may well be the last we see of all three of them in the IPL.