Bangalore: Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch has been named as replacement for England’s Alex Hales at the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League side, the franchise announced.
Hales, who went to two-time champions Kolkata for $196,000 in the auction last month, pulled out of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament starting March 26, citing “bubble fatigue”.
He becomes the second English player to opt out of the league due to challenges of bubble life after Jason Roy earlier this month parted ways with Gujarat Titans, one of the two new teams this edition.
Hales, 33, said he was “truly gutted to turn down one of the best opportunities” of his career. “Having spent the last four months away from home in restrictive bio bubbles and having tested positive for Covid myself in Australia, I don’t feel as though I can commit myself to another extended period within a secure environment,” Hales tweeted.
“We respect Alex Hales’ decision of choosing family and mental well-being over his participation in the upcoming season of the IPL,” Kolkata chief executive Venky Mysore said.
Finch, who led Australia to their first ever T20 World Cup title last year, went unsold in the auction but returns to the world’s most valuable cricket league, also for $196,000.
The 35-year-old Finch, a top-order batsman, has played 85 innings in the IPL over the years and scored 2,005 runs.
Kolkata, led by India’s Shreyas Iyer, will take on defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of this season’s tournament that has been expanded to 10 teams.