Alex Hales during an interview at Gulf News office in Dubai on Tuesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dambulla: Alex Hales is braced for criticism after agreeing to play in the Bangladesh Premier League some two years on from declining to tour the country with England on security grounds.

Hales controversially pulled out of the 2016 one-day series along with Eoin Morgan, the captain, but the Guardian has reported he has now signed a lucrative two-year deal to play for Rangpur Riders in the sixth edition of the BPL that begins in January. The 29-year-old batsman, who is with the England limited-overs squad currently touring Sri Lanka, renegotiated a white-ball deal with Nottinghamshire at the start of the recent county season in a bid to make himself available for the world’s Twenty20 tournaments.

Having played this year under Tom Moody, the head coach of Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad, Hales is now set to be reunited with the Australian in the BPL, where he will open alongside the West Indian left-hander Chris Gayle.

The deal will inevitably draw criticism from those who took umbrage at Hales sitting out England’s last tour to Bangladesh following the Dhaka terrorist attacks in 2016. The right-hander is said to have been reassured by that tour passing without incident, while he has also taken advice from the tournament organisers and independent security professionals.

One complication for him could arise from the impending hearing by the Cricket Disciplinary Commission in early December, however, with Hales having been referred to the panel by the England and Wales Cricket Board following the street fight in Bristol in September last year that resulted in his teammate, Ben Stokes, being found not guilty of affray.

Hales and Stokes face two charges of bringing the game into disrepute and the CDC panel — which is funded by the ECB — has the power to impose cricketing sanctions that include fines and possible suspensions.

The latter, if handed down, will likely take into account matches already missed. Stokes sat out five Ashes Tests and 11 white-ball internationals when the case was being investigated by the police, but Hales, who faced no criminal charge, was left out of two one-dayers at the end of the 2017 season before resuming his England career.

— Guardian News & Media Ltd