Star Australian opener David Warner and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis have pulled out of the inaugural edition of 'The Hundred' as the England and Wales Cricket Board gears up for more withdrawals in wake of the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic. Warner and Stoinis, who returned home from COVID-ravaged India after the suspension of the IPL last month, were named in Australia's preliminary squads for the limited over tours to the West Indies and Bangladesh.
The upcoming tours clash with The Hundred which is scheduled to be held between July and August. "It is obviously disappointing to lose players with the ability of David and Marcus, but the realities of COVID means there are practicalities that are difficult for some overseas players to overcome," the ECB said in a statement on Thursday.
"Replacement overseas players will be signed by Southern Brave, and we look forward to The Hundred showcasing world-class cricket this summer."
Warner and Stoinis had fetched a deal worth 100,000 pounds and 80,000 pounds respectively with the Southern Brave for The Hundred. New Zealand's Sophie Devine too had pulled out, while Shaheen Afridi is also likely to withdraw after being named in Pakistan's T20I and Test squad for their tour of the Caribbean.
West Indies' swashbuckling allrounder Andre Russell too is likely to be unavailable for the first half of the tournament as he will be busy with their home T20I series against Australia and Pakistan. Shadab Khan, who was included in Pakistan's T20I squad, is also set to skip at least the first half of the group stage of the tournament.