London: Alex Hales announced on Tuesday that he is turning his back on Test cricket after signing a new limited-overs contract with county side Nottinghamshire following a similar decision by England team-mate Adil Rashid.
Rashid last week said he intended to focus solely on shorter, white-ball cricket for Yorkshire this season and Hales has penned a deal until the end of the 2019 season that will see him feature only in 50-over and 20-over formats of the game.
Hales' decision is likely to strengthen fears that England's top limited-overs internationals could abandon first class, or red-ball, cricket, which includes five-day Test matches, in favour of playing in lucrative domestic Twenty20 competitions around the world.
The opening batsman proved crucial in Nottinghamshire's domestic white-ball double in 2017 and is a regular in England's limited-overs set-up with 58 one-day and 52 T20 international appearances.
But the 29-year-old's decision seemingly ends his hopes of adding to his 11 Test caps, the last of which he earned in August 2016.
"For the next 18 months I'm excited to focus entirely on limited overs cricket and want to be part of a Notts team that retains the white ball double and a World Cup winning squad with England," he said in a statement on Twitter.
"The decision to focus on my white ball game wasn't taken lightly or on the spur of the moment, its one I've thought long and hard about. Its also one I've discussed at length with the Notts management."
Hales, who has registered 13 centuries in 107 first-class appearances, is slated to feature in the upcoming Pakistan Super League with Islamabad United following England's one-day series in New Zealand but both he and Rashid were overlooked in the Indian Premier League auction.
"Alex is entitled to make himself available for whatever format he wants to play, and we respect his decision," said Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell.
"He's an outstanding white ball player and we look forward to him helping us win more trophies in that format of the game."