Hales is hopeful about participating in the MLC having NOC doubts

Alex Hales and other players on white-ball-only contracts with their counties should be permitted to play

Alex Hales is still hopeful that he will participate in the Major League Cricket (MLC) league’s debut season despite worries that English cricketers might not be allowed No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) to compete in the new American competition.

The ECB is aware that Alex Hales has spoken to MLC franchises about his availability for the competition, but numerous teams are concerned that the ECB would prevent NOCs because the new league takes place in the summer in England.

Players with white-ball-only contracts with their individual counties, like Hales, are believed to be given permission to play in the US if they sign contracts, even if centrally contracted England players are unlikely to be granted NOCs.

The MLC will take place from July 13 to July 30 and will primarily conflict with the County Championship. Players would miss the start of the competition since the Vitality Blast Finals Day, which only involves four counties, is on July 15.

NOCs are initially granted by counties to players without central contracts, with official approval from the ECB. White-ball players who wished to play in overseas tournaments during the English season, such the IPL and the CPL, have already received them.

In the opinion of the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), the MLC should be considered similarly to other leagues that play during the English summer,

“via the principle established in county and ECB central contracts,”

a spokesperson said. 

“Ultimately, it is up to the employers’ discretion in-season, unless the player is on a specific white-ball version of the standard contract.”

Hales’ contract with his county, Nottinghamshire, is valid till the conclusion of their T20 Blast campaign this year. The only other contract he currently has in the English game is with Trent Rockets in the Hundred, which begins on August 1 — two days after the MLC final — and, if signed, would cause him to leave the UK the day before the Rockets’ first game.

Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills, and Will Smeed are other English white-ball players who might be available to MLC and do not have central contracts. Players on all-format contracts don’t seem likely to ask to skip County Championship games so they can play in the US at this time.

Several players are waiting to see if their counties survive to the Blast’s knockout rounds and will only join up for the MLC – possibly as substitute players – if they do not take part in Finals Day.

Some players may choose to miss part or all of the Blast season if MLC seasons continue to grow in duration as is expected in the future in order to accept more big contracts in the US than their home counties can provide.

Top pay for international players are thought to be around $150,000, and they are signed directly by MLC organizations as opposed to through a playoff system (USD). 

In addition to Marcus Stoinis, direct signings have been made for Quinton de Kock, Aaron Finch, Wanindu Hasaranga, Mitchell Marsh, Anrich Nortje, and Wanindu Hasaranga.

A direct effect of MLC has already been seen on the Hundred. According to news, Nortje withdrew from the drought on Thursday because his contract in the US is more profitable, pro rata, than the most attractive £125,000 (GBP) contracts available in the Hundred.