England and Brisbane Heat batsman Tom Banton has decided to withdraw from the Big Bash League 2020-21 less than a week from the start of the tournament. The 22-year-old, on Saturday, has cited biobubble fatigue as the reason for his withdrawal. This was the 2nd setback for Brisbane Heat as they confirmed spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman testing positive for coronavirus on Friday.
The England batsman has been under biobubble restrictions since England’s home summer and throughout the IPL 2020 in the UAE, where he represented the Kolkata Knight Riders.
“It has been harder than I thought, spending so much time in the hubs and bubbles, and I came to the realisation that it wasn’t doing me much good. I know the Heat looked after me really well during the BBL last year and I was confident that they would understand when I spoke to Boof (coach Darren Lehmann) and Lynny (captain Chris Lynn) about going home to regroup,” Banton said in a statement released by the club.
“I’d like to thank the fans and members who are getting ready to support the Heat during the tournament and pass on my regrets to them that I won’t be there. I will miss playing in front of the crowds at the Gabba and the Gold Coast who were so passionate about the Heat and hope that I can repeat that experience again in the future.”
Banton, who is still in a 2-year contract extension with Brisbane Heat, is set to return for the next BBL season. The 22-year-old right-handed batsman had the full support of the Heat head coach Darren Lehmann.
“Look firstly Tom is a terrific young man. He’s an impressive person and someone who we know would not have made a decision like this lightly and not without a great deal of soul-searching. After speaking with him at length, the best option for him is to head home to his family and loved ones and give himself every chance to recover. We’ve always been strong as a club that your family comes first and so we back his decision 100 percent and hope he is feeling restored and mended very soon,” Lehmann said.
“It is a very challenging time for many people and cricket is no exception. There is no normality or work life balance which is so important, especially in elite sport. The well-being of the players is paramount and I am sure everyone – fans, coaches, administrators, sponsors – recognizes that. We shouldn’t be critical of individuals making tough decisions so the best thing to do is to support them and back them.
“It’s a setback for us, but we know there are people in our group, or those coming into our squad, who can rise to the occasion,” he added.