Nottinghamshire CCC batsman Alex Hales has been granted permission to play in the Indian Premier League after signing an extension to his contract at Trent Bridge.
Under the terms of the deal which runs to 2016, Hales, the top-ranked twenty20 batsman in international cricket, will be granted leave to feature in the next three editions of the lucrative tournament, subject to him securing a top bracket contract worth in excess of $400,000 per year.
Samit Patel has also been granted permission to enter the auction and will be given similar dispensation if he can secure a deal on similar terms.
Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket Mick Newell remains in discussions with Michael Lumb, who he hopes to agree a new contract with in the weeks ahead.
“We were very keen to secure an extended commitment from Alex, he was understandably keen to enter the IPL auction and there was a mutual will to find a compromise that we could all live with,” said Newell.
“It’s hard for us to deny an individual the opportunity to earn life-changing amounts of money, but the team also has to be considered so it made sense to allow him to enter the auction to see if there is sufficient interest in his services to secure a high-value contract.
“He has a track record of scoring runs consistently against high-quality twenty20 bowlers and it’s easy to see why he could be an asset to an IPL side. It feels like the right time to allow him to maximise the financial opportunities that go hand in hand with his track record.”
Newell is in advanced talks with an established batsman, who will provide cover for Hales in the opening weeks of the domestic season.
Hales reported for the first day of pre-season training at Trent Bridge this morning but will depart for Australia at the start of December in preparation for a stint with Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash.
“I’m pleased to have come to an agreement with Notts because I want to spend my entire career here and I hope that will happen now that I’ve been given the opportunity to enter the auction,” he said.
“I’m not aware of specific interest from any given IPL franchise but I’m focussed on performing well in the Big Bash because there are a lot of eyes on that tournament.
“I’m hoping to be involved in the twenty20 matches between England and Australia which I hope can give me a platform to demonstrate my skills and stir interest from IPL teams.
“The atmosphere created by IPL fans is special and unique and I have spoken to several players who have experienced it and consider it to be second to none. I really hope I can be part of it.”
Hales was a leading performer for Notts Outlaws in white ball cricket last season but struggled for form in the LV= County Championship.
“Last season was tough for me because I was sky high in two formats and at rock bottom with the red ball,” he said.
“It did cross my mind to go freelance and focus on twenty20 full-time, but I’ve had time to think and I’m still driven to do well in four-day cricket and to break into England’s one-day setup.
“There were moments last season where I got carried away with how well things were going with the white ball to the detriment of my Championship form, but I’ve got the drive to put things right.”
Hales has scored 665 runs in 21 T20 internationals for England including a devastating 99 against West Indies at Trent Bridge in 2012.
That knock contributed to a 159-run partnership with Ravi Bopara, the third highest partnership in international T20 history. He also shared a 143-run opening partnership with Lumb against New Zealand in February 2013.