England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have decided to withdraw Alex Hales from all squads ahead of the international season following his 21-day ban for using recreational drugs.
According to an ECB statement, the decision was taken by Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket Ashely Giles and the national selectors, which is headed by Ed Smith in the best interests of the England team.
As a result of ECB's decision, 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 IT20, the Royal London ODI series against Pakistan and the preliminary ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup squad.
Speaking on the matter, Giles 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 fulfill his potential as a professional cricketer.”
Hales had recently failed a recreational drug test and is serving a 21-day ban handed down by ECB.
It is the second time Hales has been found guilty of using a banned recreational drug in his professional career.