Eoin Morgan rules out quick England return for Alex Hales

‘He needs to build trust up now for as long as he can’: Eoin Morgan dashes Alex Hales’ hopes of an imminent England return after batsman showed ‘complete disregard’ for team’s values with recreational drugs ban

  • Eoin Morgan has urged caution in bringing Alex Hales back into the fold
  • Batsman Hales served a suspension last year for recreational drug use
  • He was removed from the World Cup squad shortly before the tournament 

Eoin Morgan has ruled out a rapid return to England’s white-ball squad for the exiled Alex Hales, saying he ‘completely disregarded’ the team’s values.

Hales had his hopes raised of being named on Friday in an enlarged group of white-ball specialists who will resume training under England’s guidance when Chris Woakes last week backed his case for a recall.

And earlier this month Hales was believed to have impressed the England hierarchy with his contrition in a Sportsmail interview where he said he had matured and ‘learned my lesson’ from serving a suspension last year for recreational drug use.

 Eoin Morgan (L) says Alex Hales (R) could still be some way away from an England comeback

But World Cup winning captain Morgan, all powerful in the white-ball set-up, dashed his optimism on Wednesday when he said Hales could have cost England ‘four years hard work’ with the damage caused by the emergence of a ban he had kept from the team.

‘I’ve spoken to Alex and see an avenue for him to come back but when there’s a breakdown of trust the only healer is time,’ said Morgan, speaking to promote the 15th anniversary of Chance to Shine.

‘It’s only been 12 or 13 months since the incident which could have cost us four years hard work so I think we will continue to assess things moving forward.

‘He needs to build trust up now for as long as he can,’ Morgan said on batsman Hales

‘It’s not about performance with Alex, he’s a fantastic player and it’s never been an issue as to whether he’s good enough to be in the squad. But it’s about on and off the field and the values we do our best to adhere to.   

‘Alex showed a complete disregard for those values and he needs to build trust up now for as long as he can. Then hopefully an opportunity will present itself along the line.’

When pressed on whether Morgan needed more time to welcome back a player Woakes insisted had the support of the bulk of the England team, the captain said: ‘I think given that it could have derailed a World Cup campaign it will take more time, yes.’

The naming of up to 15 white-ball players in addition to a Test ‘squad’ of around 30 on Friday appeared the ideal opportunity to re-integrate Hales but, at 31, time might now be running out for him even though Morgan insisted the door had not yet closed.

 He was removed from the World Cup squad shortly before England won the tournament

‘Alex is in a unique situation,’ added Morgan. ‘The huge breakdown in trust between him and the players on the cusp of a World Cup was extremely dramatic.

‘I think teams in the past wouldn’t have been strong enough to make the decision we did before the World Cup and that we continued to stand by after it. That says a lot about our group. They’ve built something they can take ownership of because they’ve seen the work they put it and the results they gained from it.

‘And the group have also seen instances where players coming back into the group have the ability to take a lot of energy away and have an impact on others. We will continue to ask every player about the situation and whether it will be detrimental for Alex to come back. We will continue to ask good honest questions.’

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