Alex Hales, the England opener, has been withdrawn from the squad for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Monday, 29 April.
Hales has also been withdrawn for the one-off one-day international against Ireland, set to be played in Malahide on Friday, and the subsequent limited-overs series against Pakistan.
The decision from the ECB comes after reports that Hales tested positive for a recreational drug test, and was handed a 21-day ban for the second such offence.
No Jofra Archer in England's #CWC19 squad, but he is picked for ODIs against Pakistan & Ireland.https://t.co/eeFuc0Gpik— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) April 17, 2019
The ECB statement said the decision was taken keeping in mind "the best interests of the England team" and to foster "the right environment within the team”. The ECB also stressed the importance of having “no unnecessary distractions" ahead of the home World Cup.
“We have thought long and hard about this decision,” said Ashley Giles, the ECB managing director of men’s cricket. “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 fulfil his potential as a professional cricketer.”
"Everyone's talking about the World Cup, everyone's talking about the selections that have been coming out. Hopefully everyone can stay fit and be involved."— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) April 24, 2019
England's @jbairstow21 is gearing up for #CWC19.
FULL STORY ⬇️https://t.co/OqMJbC6TV2 pic.twitter.com/l0Zw507G1Y
The big-hitting Hales has represented England in 70 ODIs, striking at 95.72. He has been successful at the top of the order, but was seen as a back-up opener for the World Cup.
He has six ODI centuries – only nine players have more for England – and his high score of 171 is just nine short of the 180 Jason Roy scored against Australia in January 2018, which is the highest individual score by an England batsman in ODIs.
A replacement will be named in due course.