England opener Alex Hales will not feature at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 after being withdrawn from all international squads, in the wake of his 21-day ban for using recreational drugs.
Hales was included in England’s 15-man preliminary World Cup squad but it emerged on Friday, as reported by the Guardian, that he had been sanctioned under the England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary policy for a second time.
“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,” read the ECB statement.
Hales will not travel to Ireland for a one-off ODI on Friday in Malahide and has also been removed from England’s squad for the Vitality T20I, the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan, and the preliminary ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup squad.
Commenting on the decision, Ashley Giles, ECB director of 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 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,” he added.