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Hales ‘devastated’ after being axed from England’s provisional World Cup squad

England have “considered what is in the best interests of the team…to ensure they are free from any distractions” in dropping Hales.

Alex Hales will not be part of England’s World Cup squad this summer (Simon Cooper/PA)
Alex Hales will not be part of England’s World Cup squad this summer (Simon Cooper/PA)

Alex Hales is “devastated” to be axed from England’s provisional World Cup squad as his management company claim the batsman was given assurances that would not be the case.

Hales was included in the preliminary 15-man party but last week’s revelation that he had been suspended for an off-field incident not related to cricket put his involvement in considerable doubt.

England say they have “considered what is in the best interests of the team…to ensure they are free from any distractions” in dropping Hales from all squads ahead of the international season.

The 30-year-old is therefore set to miss the one-off one-day international against Ireland in Malahide on Friday and the limited-overs series against Pakistan which follows, as well as the World Cup campaign.

However, Hales’ representatives said in a statement released to Press Association Sport they were “hugely disappointed” by the decision to cast the player aside. They added the Nottinghamshire opener “took away the message his World Cup place would be judged on playing merit” following discussions with key members of the England and Wales Cricket Board before his suspension became public knowledge.

The statement said: “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 in this instance. He absolutely acknowledges and recognises he made a huge mistake.

“But as part of the ongoing process, 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 for his actions.

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Alex Hales in action for England in an ODI against Australia (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The ECB insisted on Alex taking certain rehabilitation 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 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.

While Alex is hurt, the ECB’s decision does not dilute his commitment to the game. Statement from Alex Hales' management company

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

“He will take time to reflect on both his actions and the subsequent decisions but will receive the support from his team he deserves.

“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.”

Press Association Sport has contacted the ECB for a response.

Hampshire captain James Vince has been called up as Hales’ replacement for the five-match ODI series against Pakistan.

Ashley Giles, ECB managing director of England Cricket, was insistent this was not the end of the line for Hales’ international career when announcing the decision to drop him.

He 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.

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England managing director Ashley Giles (pictured) insists this is not the end of the road for Alex Hales’ international career (Mike Egerton/PA)

“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.”

Hales, on a white-ball only deal with Nottinghamshire, missed the start of the Royal London One-Day Cup campaign, with his county saying he was absent due to “personal reasons”.

But it emerged last week he had been sanctioned under the ECB’s disciplinary policy for a second time as a spokesperson for the batsman said he had been suspended for an “off-field incident”.

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Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy have established a highly-successful opening partnership in England’s ODI team (Richard Sellers/PA)

His latest misdemeanour comes only a few months after he was suspended and fined by the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission for his role in the notorious Bristol street brawl, also involving international team-mate Ben Stokes, in September 2017 as well as social media posts.

The fallout from the controversy led to Hales losing his place in the ODI team as Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy established a highly-successful opening partnership.

Hales, with 2,419 runs in 70 ODIs at an average of 37.79 and six centuries, was thought of by many as an enviable back-up option in an England batting line-up laden with big-hitting talent.

Now, though, he faces missing a monumental summer for England as they look to win a 50-over global trophy for the first time.

PA

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