Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have roped in Australia’s white-ball captain Aaron Finch ahead of the much-anticipated IPL 2022 as a replacement for England opener Alex Hales. The top-order batter pulled out of the tournament citing bubble fatigue. According to a release by IPL, Aaron Finch has joined the franchise at INR 1.5 crore (USD 196,000 approx.).
Hales, who was roped in by KKR for his base price of INR 1.5 crore at the latest IPL 2022 mega auction, played for Sydney Thunder in the 2021-22 Big Bash League (BBL), the team that was most affected by COVID-19. Having played 13 matches in the BBL, Hales’ next T20 assignment was in Pakistan for the PSL. He played in seven matches for Islamabad United before pulling out due to bubble fatigue. He did, however, rejoin the team ahead of the playoffs stage.
“We respect Alex Hales’ decision of choosing family and mental well-being over his participation in the upcoming season of the IPL. Bubble-life isn’t easy, and a number of players around the world have shared their views on this topic. We will miss having him in the Galaxy of Knights this season, but we wish him all the best,” said KKR CEO Venky Mysore
“We are delighted to welcome Aaron Finch, the T20 World Cup-winning captain, to the Knight Riders family. He is excited about joining the rest of the KKR squad in Mumbai and we look forward to benefiting from his vast experience.”
“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 said in a statement on Twitter. “I wouldn’t be fair on the team or myself if I wasn’t able to perform to the level expected of me as a result of ongoing bubble fatigue.”
“I am truly gutted to have to turn down one of the best opportunities of my career due to the toll that the last two years of bubble life have taken on my mental well-being. I’ll now take some time to rest and recharge ahead of the summer.
“I want to thank KKR for believing in me during the auction and for their ongoing support in recent weeks. I wish Baz [Brendon McCullum], Shreyas [Iyer] and the team the best of luck for the tournament and hope to see the Knight Riders fans at some point in the future,” added Hales.
Finch, who found no buyers in the latest mega auction, would be playing for his ninth IPL franchise. Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), Pune Warriors India, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Kings XI Punjab, and Royal Challengers Bangalore are among his previous teams. He played his last season of the tournament, IPL 2020, representing the Rajasthan Royals. Over the years, he has appeared in 85 IPL innings, accumulating 2005 runs at an average of 25.70 and a strike rate of 127.70.
KKR, the runners-up of the 14th edition of IPL, would be starting their IPL 2022 campaign playing against the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings, in the opening game of the tournament on March 26 at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.