Sunday 15 September 2019

England batsman Alex Hales axed from World Cup squad for off-field incident

Alex Hales has been withdrawn from all England squads
Alex Hales has been withdrawn from all England squads

David Charlesworth

England batsman Alex Hales will not feature at the World Cup after being withdrawn from all international squads following an off-field incident not related to cricket.

Hales was included in England's 15-man preliminary World Cup squad but it emerged on Friday he had been sanctioned under the England and Wales Cricket Board's disciplinary policy for a second time.

An ECB statement said: "Alex Hales has been withdrawn from all England squads ahead of the international season."

Hales' latest misdemeanour comes just a few months after he was suspended and fined by the ECB for his part in the notorious street brawl in Bristol also involving Ben Stokes in September 2017.

As such, the Nottinghamshire batsman has been stood down from this Friday's one-off Twenty20 against Ireland in Malahide, the upcoming limited-overs series against Pakistan and the World Cup.

Ashley Giles, ECB managing director of England Cricket, said: "We have thought long and hard about this decision.

"We have worked hard to create the right environment around the England team and need to consider what is in the best interests of the team, to ensure they are free from any distractions and able to focus on being successful on the pitch.

"I want to make it clear this is not the end of Alex's career as an England player.

"The ECB and the PCA (Professional Cricketers' Association) will continue to aid Alex and work alongside his county club Nottinghamshire to give him the support he needs, to help him fulfil his potential as a professional cricketer."

The incident in Bristol - his sanction from the ECB was also because of some social media posts - led to Hales losing his place in England's first-choice ODI team.

Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy have been the preferred opening pairing in the last 18 months though Hales, with 2,419 ODI runs at 37.79 and six centuries, was thought of by many as an enviable back-up option.

The ECB will name his replacement "in due course".

Hales, who last year signed a white-ball only deal with Nottinghamshire, missed the start of his county's Royal London One-Day Cup campaign earlier this month.

Nottinghamshire said the 30-year-old had "made himself unavailable for selection for personal reasons" but a spokesperson said on Friday he had been suspended for an "off-field incident".

The spokesperson added: "He will be joining the squad in preparation for next week's games and will be available for selection. Whilst the issue is not cricket related, Hales accepted that it was right that he was suspended.

"He is now fully focused on returning to cricket and is committed to working tirelessly for both Nottinghamshire and England throughout the summer."

PA Media

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