pening batter Alex Hales on Thursday was called up to England’s squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia as a replacement for in-form batter Jonny Bairstow. Hales, 33, has also been added to England’s squad for the seven T20Is tour of Pakistan.

It also means that Hales’s three-year exile from international cricket, after last representing England in March 2019, is over. He had a failed recreational drugs test and was removed from the 2019 ODI World Cup, which England won at home.

The then-captain Eoin Morgan often cited a “complete breakdown in trust” on Hales’ exclusion from the England side.

With Morgan now retired from international cricket and Jos Buttler being the new skipper along with Jason Roy losing form rapidly and Bairstow sustaining a freak left ankle injury after slipping on a golf course last week, it has cleared the path for Hales’s return to international cricket.

Hales, a prominent name in T20 franchise leagues in his time away from international cricket, was a vital cog in the wheel for Trent Rockets, winners of this year’s men’s Hundred, with 259 runs at a strike-rate of 152.35. He also formed a formidable opening partnership with his fellow England team-mate, left-handed batter Dawid Malan.

On the way, he became the first England player to cross 10,000-run mark in T20 format.

England men’s managing director Rob Key had revealed on September 2 that Hales had called him up and was making a case for his recall into international cricket through the T20 World Cup selection in the original squad.

“From what we’ve spoken about, it’s never been an issue really as far as we were concerned. We were able to just talk about form. And look, I spoke to Alex Hales. He rang me actually, and he argued why he wasn’t there and I think quite right too.

“I much prefer when these people pick up the phone and say, ‘come on then, why wasn’t I there?’ I’ve a huge amount of respect for that as opposed to people who go behind the scenes moaning about why they’ve not been picked for something. You look and it’s just an unfortunate time where there’s a hell of a lot of very good players.”

“People say it’s a good problem to have but it’s not straightforward with who you pick as a batter in this format of white-ball cricket because there’s so many good options. There’s a lot of people who have also missed out who quite rightly could have said ‘how come I’m not in?’.”

Overall, Hales has played 60 T20Is for England since his debut in 2011, making 1,644 runs and averaging 31.01 at a strike rate of 136.65. In 2014, at the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh, he became the first England player to score an international T20 hundred, a match-winning 116 not out off 64 balls against Sri Lanka in Chattogram.

England squad for Men’s T20 World Cup Squad and three T20Is against Australia: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

Travelling Reserves: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson and Tymal Mills.

England squad for tour of Pakistan: Jos Buttler (Captain), Moeen Ali (Vice-Captain), Harry Brook, Jordan Cox, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Alex Hales, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Luke Wood and Mark Wood.

Source: IANS

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