Rob Key opens door for Alex Hales to make England return
England 's new Managing Director of Men's Cricket Rob Key has opened the door for Alex Hales to make his return to international cricket.
Hales has not featured for England since 2019, having been banned on the eve of their historic Cricket World Cup win after failing a second recreational drugs test. At the time, England captain Eoin Morgan slammed Hales for showing a "complete disregard" for team values and stated his actions had "created a lack of trust between Alex and the team".
Three years on from the ban, Hales has not played for England again and appeared to have been completely blacklisted. When England named a 55-man training squad in 2020 to return to practice at the height of the Covid pandemic, Hales was frozen out.
He was also absent when England were forced to assemble a new 18-man squad overnight for an ODI series against Pakistan in 2021 due to a Covid outbreak within the original squad. However, Key has now suggested Hales will now be considered "available for selection" going forward.
Despite this, he did also question whether Hales is good enough to get in the team, given the wealth of talent England have at their disposal in white ball cricket. "I will have to speak to the people involved in that decision but for me I would have Alex Hales available for selection," Key said.
"Whether he gets in the team is another thing. I personally think he has done his time. But does that mean he gets in the team? That is a different debate."
In T20 cricket, Jos Buttler and Jason Roy are England's first-choice at the top of the order, while Roy and Jonny Bairstow are among the greatest ODI opening partnerships in history. Dawid Malan and Joe Root are also firmly established members of the top three in T20 and ODI cricket respectively, while the likes of Phil Salt, Tom Banton and James Vince are among England's regular reserve options.
Hales has not played since February, when he featured for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League. After getting bought for £146,790 by Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, he withdrew from the tournament due to "bubble fatigue".
Hales is set to return to action later this month for Nottinghamshire in the T20 Blast.
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