West Indies cricket star Chris Gayle has pulled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with “bubble fatigue” and will instead focus on this month's T20 World Cup.
The big-hitting 42-year-old batsman played two out of three matches for Punjab Kings since the big-bucks tournament resumed in the United Arab Emirates last month.
Gayle left the team hotel because of “bubble fatigue” accumulated over the months playing franchise and international cricket during the coronavirus pandemic, Kings said in a statement.
Gayle said he wished to “mentally recharge and refresh myself”.
“I want to refocus on helping the West Indies in the T20 World Cup and would like to take a break in Dubai,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
On Wednesday, Gayle released the music video of his new single “Punjabi Daddy” with the self-styled “Universe Boss” sporting traditional Indian dress and shaking a leg to the catchy tune.
Players in world cricket have often needed to restrict themselves to strict bio-bubbles because of the coronavirus.
They frequently have to stay within the confines of their team hotel and often cannot mingle with anyone outside, even on non-match days.
Some players have opted out, including Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and David Warner pulling out of The Hundred tournament earlier this year.
The IPL has also been hit by withdrawals, with Josh Hazlewood and Liam Livingstone staying away over similar reasons.
Kings head coach Anil Kumble said the team respected Gayle's decision and “desire to prepare himself for the T20 World Cup” starting on October 17 in the UAE and Oman.
Punjab, who were due to play Kolkata Knight Riders later on Friday, are sixth in the table in the eight-team IPL.
Gayle scored 193 runs from 10 matches this season at an average of 21.44.