London: Australian cricketers David Warner and Marcus Stoinis have pulled out of The Hundred dealing a blow to the tournament organised by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The Hundred will run from July 21 to August 21 and was expected to attract a number of stars from across the world.
Warner and Stoinis were contracted by Southern Brave franchise for 100,000 and 80,000 pounds respectively.
“It is obviously disappointing to lose players with the ability of David and Marcus, but the realities of Covid mean there are practicalities that are difficult for some overseas players to overcome,” the ECB told ESPNcricinfo through a statement.
“Replacement overseas players will be signed by Southern Brave, and we look forward to the Hundred showcasing world-class cricket this summer.”
Both Warner and Stoinis are part of the 23-member preliminary Australia squad picked for the tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh. It is likely that the duo, along with Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell, will skip the national assignments as they look to spend time with their families after having spent a lot of time bio-secure environment over the past few months.
Cricket Australia had already added six more players to the preliminary squad expecting withdrawals.
New Zealand woman cricketer Sophie Devine too has made herself unavailable for it.
Sophie, who was picked by Birmingham Phoenix and was replaced at the franchise by world No. 1 woman T20 batter Shafali Verma, has already taken some time off from international cricket.
She had withdrawn from a couple of T20Is and the ODI series against Australia in April.
The all-rounder will return to the Kiwi squad for the three-match T20I series in England in September.