Australian all-rounder James Faulkner, who is part of Quetta Gladiators in the ongoing edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL), announced on Saturday his premature withdrawal from the tournament, alleging that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had failed to honour his contractual agreement with respect to payments.
However, in a strong denial of these allegations, PCB termed Faulkner’s attitude as “reprehensible and insulting” and banned him from future participation in any PSL tournament. The board further said that the Australian cricketer caused “deliberate damage” to the hotel property he was staying at and had to pay for it before leaving.
"I apologise to Pakistan Cricket fans. But unfortunately, I've had to withdraw from the last two matches and leave the @thePSLt20 due to @TheRealPCB not honouring my contractual agreement/payments," he said on Twitter.
"I’ve been here the whole duration and they (the PCB) have continued to lie to me," he said.
In a subsequent tweet, he added that "it hurts to leave as I wanted to help to get international cricket back in Pakistan, as there is so much young talent and the fans are amazing."
"But the treatment I have received has been a disgrace from the @TheRealPCB and @thePSLt20," he said, expressing the hope that "you all understand my position".
Not long after Faulkner's announcement, the PCB dismissed the allegations levelled against the board as "false and misleading".
"The PCB and Quetta Gladiators have regretfully taken note of Mr James Faulkner's false and misleading accusations and will shortly be releasing a detailed statement on the matter," said a tweet by the board.
Later, the PCB and Quetta Gladiators issued a joint statement denying allegations of non-payment, claimed that Faulkner was guilty of misconduct and announced that he would be banned from future PSL drafts.
The statement, posted on the PCB's website, said the allegations of non-payment and mistreatment of Faulkner were "baseless" and pointed out that no player had ever complained about the non-fulfillment of the PCB's contractual obligations in seven years of the PSL.
According to the statement, Faulkner's agent had confirmed in December last year the details of a bank account in United Kingdom (UK) for the transfer of payment.
But in January 2022, the statement said, "for reasons best known to Mr Faulkner, his agent sent revised banking details of his onshore account in Australia".
However, the contracted 70 per cent of the all-rounder's fee had already been transferred to his offshore bank account in the UK by that time, and the receipt of this payment was acknowledged by Faulkner, the statement added.
"Accordingly, payments due to Mr Faulkner as per his contract are fully up to date," the PCB maintained in the statement. It added that "the remaining 30 per cent of his contractual payment only becomes due 40 days after the completion of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2022, which now remains 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," the board said. "This meant Mr Faulkner would have been paid twice."
The board claimed that Faulkner "threatened and refused" to participate in the match between Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans on Friday, "until his money demands were met".
"The PCB, as a responsible organisation, engaged with Mr Faulkner early [on] Friday afternoon in an attempt to reason with him. Despite his reprehensible and insulting behavior during the conversation, Mr Faulkner was assured that all his grievances would be addressed," the board said.
It added that Faulkner, however, 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”.
"During this time, the PCB was also in constant contact with his agent, who was regretful and apologetic."
The PCB also alleged that prior to his departure on Saturday morning, the Australian all-rounder "caused deliberate damage to the hotel property and as a result had to pay damages to the hotel management".
"The PCB later also received reports and complaints from the immigration authorities that Mr Faulkner had acted inappropriately and abusively at the airport," the board added.
“In wake of the above, and 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,” the board announced.