England batsman Alex Hales will not feature at the World Cup after being withdrawn from all international squads following an off-field incident not related to cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Monday.
Hales was included in the 15-man preliminary World Cup squad for the tournament in England and Wales but it emerged last week that he had been sanctioned under the ECB’s disciplinary policy for a second time.
A report in the Guardian newspaper said the hard-hitting batsman was serving a ban from cricket for recreational drug use.
A spokesman for Hales on Friday confirmed the Nottinghamshire batsman had been suspended “following an off-field incident last year”.
An ECB statement on Monday said: “Alex Hales has been withdrawn from all England squads ahead of the international season.”
Hales’s latest misdemeanour comes just a few months after he was suspended and fined by the ECB for his part in a street brawl in Bristol also involving Ben Stokes in September 2017.
The 30-year-old has been stood down from this Friday’s one-off one-day international against Ireland in Malahide, the upcoming limited-overs matches against Pakistan and the World Cup.
Ashley Giles, ECB managing director of England Men’s Cricket, 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.”
Hales has played 11 Tests, 70 one-day internationals and 60 Twenty20 internationals but is now regarded as a white-ball specialist.