June 8, 2023

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England recall Hales from international exile for T20 World Cup

England recall Hales from international exile for T20 World Cup

Alex Hales’s long international exile is over after he was recalled to the England squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia as a replacement for the injured Jonny Bairstow.

The 33-year-old Nottinghamshire batsman has not represented his country for three-and-a-half years, having been dumped on the eve of the 2019 World Cup in the aftermath of two failed recreational drug tests.

While his official ban only totalled 21 days, in line with England and Wales Cricket Board policy, he was left out in the cold after what then white-ball captain Eoin Morgan described as a “complete breakdown in trust”.

Now, with Morgan retired, Bairstow sidelined by a “freak” leg injury and fellow opener Jason Roy dropped due to lack of form, circumstances have combined to hand Hales a fresh chance.

Hales recently became the first Englishman to reach 10,000 runs in the Twenty20 format, and also has useful experience in Australia’s Big Bash League so knows the tournament pitches well.

The hard-hitting batter has scored 1,644 runs in 60 T20 internationals at an average of 31, with a strike rate of more than 136 per 100 balls.

Hales will also be available for the upcoming tour of Pakistan.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the player’s recall in a short team update issued on Wednesday.

Test captain Ben Stokes, speaking ahead of the third Test against South Africa, said of Hales’s return to the international fold: “At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is to win that World Cup for England.

“My goal, Alex’s goal and everyone else’s goal who is part of that squad is to win the World Cup. It’s an injury that presents an opportunity to someone else.

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“Alex is definitely one of the best T20 players in the world and unfortunately with what happened with Jonny we had to call another player up and Alex is definitely one of the guys that bowlers don’t want to be bowling at in the T20 format.”

Stokes, asked if there were any lingering trust issues with Hales, replied: “I’ve not been in the leadership capacity in the white-ball group for however long.

“But when it comes down to the big moments in games and World Cup games, knockout games, you want your best players there to be taking that pressure on and he (Hales) certainly is one of those.”

The T20 World Cup starts on October 16.