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Axed from World Cup, 'Devastated' Hales Accuses ECB of Betrayal

“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"

Cricketnext Staff |April 30, 2019, 1:03 PM IST
Axed from World Cup, 'Devastated' Hales Accuses ECB of Betrayal

Alex Hales has been left "devastated" after ECB's decision to withdraw him from all England squads, including the World Cup, ahead of the start of the new international season.

Hales had been placed on a three-week ban for recreational drug use but the penalty has now been increased by the board. The 30-year-old released a statement through his management company and expressed disappointment in the way details were made public.

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

“The ECB insisted on Alex taking certain rehabilitation measures following his suspension … 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 that 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 organisation 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 understandably 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,” said the statement

According to a statement issued by the ECB, the decision was made “having considered what is in the best interests of the England team” and Hales will now not travel to Ireland for a one-off ODI on Friday. He will also not be a part of England’s squad for the Vitality IT20, the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan and the preliminary World Cup squad.

“Consideration was given to creating the right environment within the team and ensuring that there are no unnecessary distractions and that the team is in the best position to succeed going into this crucial period,” the statement read.

“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,” said Ashley Giles, ECB Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket.

“I want to make it clear this is not the end of Alex’s career as an England player. The ECB and the PCA 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.”

This is the second time Hales has failed to comply with the ECB’s recreational drugs policy. The latest setback comes on the back of the infamous incident last year when Hales was suspended and fined after he and Ben Stokes were involved in a street fight outside a Bristol nightclub.

All English cricketers, men and women, are subjected to the hair follicle tests twice a season. The tests which were introduced in 2013, is essentially related to the health and welfare of the players.

Hales has played 70 ODIs for England, having scored 2419 runs at an average of just under 38 with six hundreds and 14 half-centuries.

England have added Ben Duckett and Dawid Malan to their ODI and T20I squad for the series against Pakistan.

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