England opening batsman Alex Hales has failed recreational drug test and is serving a 21-day ban handed down by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Hales, who was named in England's preliminary 15-man squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup, is tested positive in drug test and is serving a 21-day ban from cricket, according to a report in The Guardian.
Last week, Hales had cited 'personal reasons' to county side Nottinghamshire for his unavailability.
This is the second time Hales has been found guilty of using a banned recreational drug in his professional career.
A spokesman for Hales on Friday confirmed the Nottinghamshire batsman had been suspended "following an off-field incident last year".
The ban is a blow for Hales, who has been selected in the England squad for the forthcoming one-day series against Pakistan ahead of the World Cup.
Hales will still be involved with England's training camp in Cardiff this weekend, with the team's first one-day match of the summer coming against Ireland in Dublin next Friday.
"He will be joining the squad in preparation for next week's games and will be available for selection," the spokesman said.
"Whilst the issue is not cricket related, Hales accepted that it was right that he was suspended.
"He is now fully focused on returning to cricket and is committed to working tirelessly for both Nottinghamshire and England throughout the summer. No further comment will be made on this issue."
An ECB spokesperson said: "We have a duty of confidentiality, therefore we are unable to provide any further comment."
The identity of players who fail a recreational drugs test for the first time remain anonymous as the matter is handled by the ECB alongside the Professional Crickets’ Association, who also provide rehabilitative support.
The ban comes as another setback for Hales, who was involved in the infamous Bristol brawl in 2017 along with Ben Stokes.
Hales is still expected to join a preparatory camp in Cardiff which starts this weekend.
England will be playing ODIs against Ireland and Pakistan ahead of the World Cup. Hosts England will start their campaign against South Africa. Hales’s availability for the tournament is still uncertain.
With inputs from AFP