Alex Hales hits out at ECB after being dropped from World Cup squad over drugs ban

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ALEX HALES has accused England of breaking a promise to select him for the World Cup — despite his drugs ban.

Batsman Hales was said to be “devastated” after being removed from all England matches until further notice.

Alex Hales is gutted to miss out on the World Cup on home soil
AP:Associated Press

And he insisted he was told by senior ECB figures that his 21-day suspension for a second positive test for recreational drugs would not harm his international future.

Now his once-glittering England career looks in ruins.

SunSport revealed yesterday that ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and England supremo Ashley Giles knew about Hales’ ban before the preliminary World Cup squad was announced on April 17. But they did not withdraw Hales at that stage.

Hales, 30, claims they have performed a U-turn only because the matter became public last  Friday. He also questioned their attitude to player welfare.

His management company, the 366 Group, released an incendiary statement which read: “We are hugely disappointed at the treatment of our client Alex Hales by the ECB following his ejection from England’s preliminary World Cup squad.

“Nobody is seeking to excuse Alex’s behaviour, he absolutely acknowledges and recognises he made a huge mistake.

“But both he and his representatives have been involved in many conversations with senior members of the ECB over the past few weeks where Alex has apologised profusely.

He would also like to wish England team-mates well for the World Cup.


366 Group statement

“The ECB insisted on Alex taking certain rehab measures following his suspension. In line with both the ECB and PCA guidelines, those measures must remain confidential.

“However, at every stage, Alex fulfilled his obligations and both he and his representatives were given assurances that any suspension — again under the ECB’s guidelines — could not affect his selection for the World Cup. It is unfortunate a confidential matter made it to the public arena but, even before the publication of the story, Alex had again spoken to key members of the England set-up to express his regret and contrition.

“At that time, he again took away the message his World Cup place would be judged on playing merit.

“The fact all those assurances seem to have been rendered meaningless has  left Alex devastated.

“Until the matter became public, the ECB had fully observed their own process and guidelines and given Alex the support and guidance laid out in those regulations.

“It is now disappointing to learn these guidelines seem to have been disregarded while, in this instance, player welfare would also appear to be low on their list of priorities. While Alex is hurt, the ECB’s decision does not dilute his commitment to the game and he will continue to give everything to Nottinghamshire’s cause. He would also like to wish England team-mates well for the World Cup.”

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


Ashley Giles

Hales was told the news yesterday morning at the team’s training camp in Cardiff and left shortly afterwards. Captain Eoin Morgan was 100 per cent behind the decision to axe Hales once he discovered that his absence for “personal reasons” was in fact a drugs ban.

Morgan, head coach Trevor Bayliss and supremo Giles believe Hales’ presence would be a huge distraction in the coming weeks.

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

Hales remains the only England player to score a T20 ton and, until last year, held their record ODI score.

But he lost his place as first-choice opener following his involvement with Ben Stokes in the Bristol street fight in September 2017.


The truth is that some players have kept Hales at arm’s length in recent months because of his apparent capacity to find trouble.

With  Jason Roy struggling with a bad back, Ben Duckett — who has also had a series of run-ins with the ECB  — and  Dawid Malan have been added to the squads for the game in Ireland on Friday and the T20  against Pakistan on Sunday.

James Vince replaces Hales in the five one-dayers against Pakistan that follow and is most likely to be added to the World Cup squad.

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