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Pakistan Bans Faulkner over 'gross misconduct' after Premature Withdrawal from T20 League

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Saturday barred James Faulkner from future drafts of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), after the Australian all-rounder prematurely pulled out of the ongoing seventh edition of the Twenty20 cricket league.

PSL, Pakistan’s professional T20 cricket league, features six teams that each represent a city. Over the course of half a decade, the PSL has become Pakistan’s biggest sports event and features international stars as well.

Earlier today, Faulkner, who was part of the Quetta Gladiators squad, apologized to the Pakistani cricket fans for having withdrawn from the tournament due to alleged mistreatment and the PCB “not honoring my contractual agreement/payments.” 

But the PCB and Quetta Gladiators denied Faulkner’s “baseless allegations” of non-payment and mistreatment in a joint statement.

“The PCB and Quetta Gladiators are disappointed and dismayed with the reprehensible behavior of Mr.James Faulkner, who was also part of the Abu Dhabi-leg of the HBL Pakistan Super League in 2021, and, along with all participants, has always been treated with utmost respect,” the statement said. 

“Taking serious note of Mr.James Faulkner’s gross misconduct that was an attempt to bring the PCB, Pakistan cricket and the HBL Pakistan Super League into disrepute, it has been unanimously agreed by the PCB and the franchises that Mr.James Faulkner will not be drafted in future HBL Pakistan Super League events.”

Detailing misconduct on the part of the Australian all-rounder, the PCB said in December 2021, his agent confirmed the United Kingdom bank details to which his fee payments should be transferred, but in January, for reasons best known to Faulkner, his agent sent revised banking details of Faulkner’s onshore account in Australia.

It said the contracted 70 percent of Faulkner’s fee payment was transferred to his offshore UK bank account and he acknowledged the receipt of the payment. 

Accordingly, the PCB said, payments due to Faulkner were “fully up to date” and the remaining 30 percent of his contractual payment was to be due 40 days after the completion of the PSL 2022, which was now “a matter to be reviewed in line with his contract.”

“In spite of the money being transferred and received in his account, Mr.Faulkner continued to insist that a second duplicate payment of the same amount be made to his account in Australia. This meant Mr.Faulkner would have been paid twice,” the statement read. 

“He further threatened and refused to participate in his side’s match against Multan Sultans on Friday afternoon until his money demands were met.” 

The PCB said as a responsible organization, it engaged with Faulkner early Friday afternoon in an attempt to reason with him.

Despite his “reprehensible and insulting behavior” during the conversation, Faulkner was assured that all his grievances would be addressed but he refused to reconsider his decision to take the field in a crucial match for his side, let his team down and demanded that his travel arrangements be immediately made, the board said.

“During this time, the PCB was also in constant contact with his agent, who was regretful and apologetic,” the statement read further. 
“Prior to his departure on Saturday morning, Mr.Faulkner caused deliberate damage to the hotel property and as a result had to pay damages to the hotel management.”

The PCB said later it also received complaints from immigration authorities that Faulkner had acted inappropriately and abusively at the airport. 
The board noted that no player had ever complained about the nonfulfillment of the PCB’s contractual obligations in the history of PSL. 
“Instead, all players have only praised and appreciated the efforts of the PCB to make their stay, appearance and participation as comfortable as practically possible,” it said.

“This is evident that from the fact that most of these cricketers have continued to remain part of the PCB’s marquee event since 2016 and have helped the PCB to make the HBL PSL a strong and formidable brand as it stands today.”

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