In a major setback for England just days ahead of the World Cup, their batsman Alex Hales has been banned for 21 days for recreational drug use. The right-handed batsman, who is a part of England’s 15-man World Cup squad, has not played for Nottinghamshire this season after making himself unavailable for his county just a week ago. Hales had taken an indefinite break from the game for personal reasons.
However, according to a report in The Guardian, Hales is serving a three-week ban handed down by the England and Wales Cricket Board for failing a drugs test for the second time. ECB has not released a statement on the matter yet. An ECB spokesperson refused to divulge any detail on the situation, saying:
“We have a duty of confidentiality, therefore we are unable to provide any further comment”.
As per the existing rules in England, all the male cricketers are subject to hair follicle testing at the start and end of each season. The testing of hair follicles means banned substances can be detected up to three months after their consumption. In case, a player fails a test for the first time, his name is not revealed publicly and the matter is dealt internally. In case of the second failure, an automatic three-week ban comes into effect from the date the player is informed of the results, along with a fine of five per-cent of their annual salary.
The player’s county is informed, along with ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and PCA chief executive David Leatherdale. In case, the player fails the test for the third time, he risk his domestic and national contract getting terminated.
The report further said that Hales is likely to have served his ban before England’s ODI against Ireland on May 3. The recent turn of events could jeopardise Hales’ World Cup plans as ECB’s new director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles has stated that he would take tough stance against ill-discipline.
Hales, nonetheless, is still likely to join the 15-man preliminary squad, plus Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan, in Cardiff on Saturday for a preparatory camp.