Former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond has come out in support of sidelined England Batsman Alex Hales, saying the latter was “being punished way too much" after he tested positive for recreational drug use two year ago.
Resultantly, the flamboyant batsman was banned for 21 days and his name was excluded from England’s first squad for the 2019 World Cup. Not just that, he also sat out the T20I and ODI series against Ireland and Pakistan. The step was taken “to create the right environment" around the senior national team.
Bond, who is Hales’ coach at the Sydney Thunder in Big Bash League (BBL), says the English batsman had “matured" into a “really good man" after his exclusion from the national side, adding it was time for ECB to move on.
“I just think that’s really unfair because he’s being punished for something that happened nearly three years ago," he told Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
“Lots of young men make mistakes but he’s learnt from it and grown-up. He’s matured and he’s a really good man that is just being punished way too much."
The former New Zealand speedster also added that nobody from the England Cricket Board had stayed in touch with Hales to check on his behaviour, something he calls a failure of “due diligence".
“I’ve read a lot from the England camp about how it’s about trust issues," Bond said. “Well, if that’s the case, I want to know how they signed off on that because I’m still waiting for the phone call about how he’s going over here.
“If you’re going to make it about trust then you need to do your due diligence and see what’s actually happening but he’s been here for two seasons and no one’s rung us from the ECB to ask how he’s fitted in and what he’s been doing," Bond said.
Bond’s support for Hales comes at a time when the batsman appeared to have once again reached his pinnacle. Hales is currently the highest scorer in the BBL with 543 runs. That’s not it, he also has the highest individual score of 110 to his credit and has hit most sixes, 30, in the tournament.
Despite such a performance, the 32-year-old recently revealed that he had not been contacted by anyone from the ECB, compelling Bond to ask the board to “just have the courtesy" to let him “know what he needs to do" to win his place in the side again.
“How much longer will this go on because it’s been nearly three years now," Bond said. “You’ve seen other incidents in the past where people have been forgiven and moved on so you’ve got to wonder if it’s down to personality clashes rather than actually about trust or whatever it may be.
“What really disappoints me is that no-one from the ECB has given him any clarity about what he’s meant to do and how he can rebuild that trust.
“He’s been a great servant to England cricket and is too good a player not for someone to just have the courtesy of letting him know what he needs to do. What’s been happening is really unfair."