Alex Hales has signed up for BPL franchise Rangpur Riders for the 2018-19 season, their CEO Ishtiaque Sadeque has confirmed. Hales became Riders' first of the two signings from outside the draft, apart from their four retained players Chris Gayle, Mashrafe Mortaza, Nazmul Islam and Mohammad Mithun.
Hales' deal with Riders is an interesting one given that he had pulled out of England's 2016 tour of Bangladesh, citing security fear, alongside Eoin Morgan. There was some criticism of the duo especially as the tour passed off without any incidents.
The BPL is scheduled to be held in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet from early January, clashing with the Big Bash League in Australia and the UAE T20x tournament.
Hales, who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in this year's IPL, will be reunited with coach Tom Moody who took Riders to their maiden BPL title last year. Riders will fill the rest of their squad during the October 25 players' draft.
While Hales does face a hearing in front of the ECB's Cricket Disciplinary Commission in December, over his part in the incident last year that saw Ben Stokes charged with affray, he would only not be available for the BPL if any suspension was extended beyond England involvement. England are due in the Caribbean in January, but will begin their tour playing Tests.
Meanwhile, Chittagong Vikings owners DBL Group confirmed earlier this week of their participation in the BPL after they had reportedly threatened to pull out of the competition. But on October 4, they announced Luke Ronchi, Sikandar Raza, Najibullah Zadran and Sunzamul Islam as their four retained players.