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Alex Hales opts out of IPL 2022, KKR bring in Aaron Finch as replacement

The English batter has cited "bubble fatigue and mental well-being" as reasons for withdrawal from the tournament

Aaron Finch plays powerfully to the off side, Australia vs Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I, Canberra, February 15, 2022

Aaron Finch has now been a part of nine IPL teams  •  Getty Images

Kolkata Knight Riders have signed up Aaron Finch, Australia's white-ball captain, as replacement for Alex Hales, who has withdrawn from IPL 2022 citing "bubble fatigue and his mental well-being", a franchise statement on Friday evening said. A statement from the IPL said that Finch would be joining Knight Riders at INR 1.5 crore (USD 196,000 approx.).
Venky Mysore, the CEO and MD of Knight Riders, said, "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.
"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."
English top-order batter Hales, who was signed by Knight Riders for his base price of INR 1.5 crore at the latest auction, held last month in Bengaluru, joined his countrymate Jason Roy, who was a part of Gujarat Titans, in opting out of the tournament for similar reasons. Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz has replaced Roy at Titans, one of two new IPL teams.
Hales has been only an occasional participant at the IPL, having spent time with Mumbai Indians without playing a game in 2015, and then turning out for Sunrisers Hyderabad in six games in IPL 2018, when he scored 148 runs at an average of 24.66 with a strike rate of 125.42.
For Finch, it will be his ninth IPL franchise, a record. He has in the past been with Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), Pune Warriors India, Sunrisers, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore. He has played 85 innings in the IPL over the years, scoring 2005 runs at an average of 25.70 and a strike rate of 127.70.
Knight Riders, the two-time IPL champions, will play the first game of the 2022 season against Chennai Super Kings at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on March 26.