ESPNcricinfo understands that Hales has been in talks with MLC franchises about his availability for the tournament, but several teams are concerned that the ECB could block NOCs as the new competition takes place over the English summer.
While centrally contracted England players are unlikely to get NOCs, white-ball only players with their respective counties – such as Hales – are expected to be allowed to play in the US if they sign contracts.
MLC will be played from July 13 to 30 and mainly clashes with the County Championship. The finals day of the Vitality Blast – involving only four provinces – will take place on July 15, and the players involved would miss the start of the competition.
For players without central contracts, NOCs are initially granted by provinces, with the ECB formally signing. These have previously been awarded to white-ball specialists wishing to play foreign leagues during the English season, both for the IPL and CPL.
The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) believes that MLC should be treated in the same way as other competitions taking place during the English summer, “through the principle laid down in the central contracts of the districts and the ECB”, according to a statement. spokesman. “Ultimately, it’s up to the employers to decide in the season, unless the player has a specific white-ball version of the standard contract.”
Hales’ contract with his county, Nottinghamshire, runs until the end of their season in this year’s T20 Blast. His only other existing contract within the English game is that of Trent Rockets in the Hundred, which takes effect on August 1 – two days after the MLC Final – and if signed would see him return to the UK the day before the Rockets’ opening game .
Other English whiteball specialists without central contracts who could make themselves available to MLC are Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills and Will Smeed. At this stage, it seems unlikely that players with all-format deals would be asking to miss County Championship matches to play in the US.
Some players are waiting to see if their provinces reach the Blast Knockout Stage and will only make themselves available for MLC – possibly as replacement signings – if they are not involved in Finals Day.
If the length of MLC seasons increases in coming years, as expected, some players may find themselves unavailable for part or all of the Blast season in order to sign more lucrative contracts in the US than the counties can offer.
And MLC has already had a direct impact on the Hundred. ESPNcricinfo understands that Nortje has pulled out of Thursday’s draft, as his US contract is worth pro rata more than the most lucrative £125,000 (GBP) deals offered in the Hundred.