England won last year’s World Cup in Alex Hales’ absence

Captain Eoin Morgan says it needs “more time” before Alex Hales returns to the England side, saying he could have “derailed” last year’s World Cup bid.

Hales has not played for England since being removed from the World Cup squad in May 2019 for an “off-field incident” – reportedly failing a drugs test.

England will next week name a training squad of 30 players with a view to playing Test and limited-overs matches.

Seamer Chris Woakes said he would be happy to see batsman Hales, 31, return.

However, Morgan said: “I’ve spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back – but when there’s a breakdown of trust, the only healer is time.

“It’s only been 12 or 13 months since the incident, which could have cost us four years of hard work.

“Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, it might take some more time.”

Cricket is set to return from the coronavirus shutdown in July and, with a revamped schedule likely to be congested, it could necessitate separate Test and limited-overs squads.

Nottinghamshire’s Hales averages almost 38 in 70 one-day internationals and was the second highest run-scorer in last winter’s edition of the Big Bash League, Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition.

The men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Australia in October and November this year, although the International Cricket Council are set to discuss whether it can still be staged at a meeting on Thursday.

“It’s obviously not about performance with Alex,” added Morgan.

“Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field, values we adhere to and Alex showed complete disregard for them.

“He needs to build that up for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line.”

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