England star and cricket’s first COVID-19 case Alex Hales signs with Sydney Thunder for this summer’s BBL

COVID-19 sufferer Alex Hales is on his way to the Big Bash to try and turn water into wine, but a few months ago he couldn’t taste the difference.

Amid all the uncertainty with broadcaster Channel 7, the big-hitting Englishman is the first international star to confirm he’s coming to the BBL this season, re-signing with the Sydney Thunder.

But back in March, Hales experienced a world first of a different kind when he contracted the virus.

Hales admits it was “overwhelming” to be diagnosed as the first cricketer, and one of the first high-profile athletes on the planet to be infected, and he was left feeling physically “shattered’ for the next three weeks.

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Alex Hales in action for Sydney Thunder in BBL09. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Although, nothing was quite as devastating as one of the – at the time, lesser known symptoms – which cost him an expensive case of fine wine.

“It was tough. It was a really tough time. The harsh symptoms probably lasted three or four days, but I felt fatigued and shattered for two to three weeks,” The Thunder opener told News Corp.

“I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

“At the time no one knew that a loss of smell and taste was a symptom. I had that for probably a month. I thought there was something else wrong with me.

“I’d bought a case of six new bottles of red wine and I opened one, tasted it and thought, ‘oh my God, that’s horrendous.’

“I thought the wine had gone off and threw out six bottles of perfectly fine wine.

“I had a sip of one a few weeks later and it was absolutely fine!”

At the height of COVID-hysteria gripping the world back in March, Hales fled the Pakistan Premier League to fly home to England before he was locked out.

After recoving from COVID-19, Alex Hales struggled for consistent runs in the recent Vitality Blast in England. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The sudden onset of his symptoms 48 hours after arriving home forced the PSL to be suspended, although none of his teammates tested positive, leading Hales to believe he must have caught COVID in transit.

No one has been able to tell Hales whether he might be more immune to catching coronavirus again now he’s had it once, but he sincerely hopes that’s the case.

“I got it slap bang in the middle of all the hype. It was hugely spoken about in the media, such a huge thing and such a new thing that no one knew anything about it. It was quite an anxious experience to be honest,” he said.

“Luckily I don’t feel like there’s any long term issues from it, fingers crossed.”

Alex Hales says he is undeterred by the prospect of two weeks in isolation ahead of BBL10. Picture: Steve Bell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Broadcasters and BBL clubs are fearing a mass boycott of the BBL this summer due to the strict two-week quarantine required for international arrivals.

But Hales says he is undeterred by the prospect of two weeks in isolation, unable to leave his hotel room, and appreciates more acutely than most the importance of cricket operating in a bubble.

“I don’t mind if that’s the price you pay in the Big Bash then that’s what we’ve got to do. Whatever happens it’s just good to be back,” said Hales.

“As a cricketing world we have to play as much cricket as we can. Financially it would have killed the England Cricket Board so much if we didn’t get any international cricket or domestic cricket in this year.

“That’s the only choice we’ve got at the moment.

“I’m used to playing six months a year abroad and spending a lot of time in hotels. I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready for it.

“Obviously it’s going to be a little bit of a different experience this time but it’s such a high quality tournament it’s fantastic opportunity for any player who plays.”

Thunder coach Shane Bond said Hales was a huge get.

“Alex went from strength to strength with his partnership with Usman Khawaja at the top of the order. Hopefully Alex will repeat what he did for us last year,” said Bond.

Hales sends ball into orbit!

BBL: Alex Hales has smashed one of the biggest sixes in the BBL, hitting Scott Boland onto the roof of Blundstone Arena. And it made a huge sound when it landed.


Originally published asMy COVID-19 hell: Cricket’s first case opens up

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