Alex Hales’ management company 366 Group have hit out at the England Cricket Board for axing the batsman from the 15-man preliminary squad for the 2019 World Cup. Hales was withdrawn from the squad after news broke out that he had failed a drug test, resulting in a 21-day ban.
A statement released by the company said, “We are hugely disappointed at the treatment of our client, Alex Hales, by the ECB following his ejection from England’s preliminary World Cup squad. Nobody is seeking to excuse Alex’s behaviour in this instance. He absolutely acknowledges and recognizes he made a huge mistake. But as part of the ongoing process, both he and his representatives have been involved in many conversations with senior members of the ECB over the past few weeks where Alex has apologized profusely for his actions.”
The management company also revealed that in negotiations with the ECB, promises were made that Hales would not be dropped from the squad if he underwent certain rehabilitation programs. “The ECB insisted on Alex taking certain rehabilitation measures following his suspension. In line with both the ECB and PCA guidelines, those measures must remain confidential. However, at every stage, Alex fulfilled his obligations and both he and his representatives were given assurances that any suspension – again under the ECB’s guidelines – could not affect his selection for the World Cup.”
The statement concluded, “The fact all those assurances seem to have been rendered meaningless has understandably left Alex devastated. He will take time to reflect on both his actions and the subsequent decisions but will receive the support from his team he deserves. Until the matter became public, the ECB had fully observed their own process and guidelines and given Alex the support and guidance laid out in those regulations. It is now disappointing to learn these guidelines seem to have been disregarded while, in this instance, player welfare would also appear to be low on their list of priorities.
While Alex is hurt, the ECB’s decision does not dilute his commitment to the game and he will continue to give everything to Nottinghamshire’s cause. He would also like to wish England team-mates well for the World Cup.”
England have a deadline till May 23rd to name Hales’ replacement with James Vince, Ben Duckett and Dawid Malan all in contention to replace the opener.