Key casts doubt over England recall for Hales despite admitting exiled batsman ‘has done his time’


New England chief Rob Key casts doubt over recall for Alex Hales despite admitting the exiled batsman ‘has done his time’ after three years in the international wilderness

  • Alex Hales was axed by England after failing a second recreational drugs test
  • Rob Key has kept the door open for a recall to England’s limited-over sides 
  • But new England managing director questioned whether he is good enough
  • Competition for top-three slots in the T20 and 50-over national sides is fierce 

Alex Hales’s international career could be over after new managing director Rob Key questioned whether he was good enough to make England’s limited-overs teams.

Hales, 33, was dumped on the eve of the 2019 World Cup after Eoin Morgan accused him of a ‘complete disregard’ for team culture when he was hit with a 21-day ban for failing a second recreational drugs test.

Last year, the Nottinghamshire batsman revealed his goal of adding to his 141 caps and Key’s predecessor Ashley Giles suggested he could be reintegrated, yet he wasn’t even chosen for England’s 18-man Covid replacement squad that faced Pakistan in three one-day internationals last July.

Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales, 33, has spoken of his goal to add to his 141 England caps

During his unveiling at Lord’s this week, Key insisted players should not be punished indefinitely for indiscretions.

However, when asked specifically about Hales, he said: ‘I will have to speak to the people involved in that decision but for me I would have Alex Hales available for selection.

‘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.’

Rob Key has questioned whether Hales is good enough to make England’s limited-overs teams

Rob Key has questioned whether Hales is good enough to make England’s limited-overs teams

Competition for top-three slots in the Twenty20 and 50-over national sides is fierce with Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan and Joe Root the incumbents and a posse of players led by Phil Salt, Tom Banton, James Vince and Joe Clarke in reserve.

Hales is expected to return to playing on May 25 when the Vitality Blast begins, having pulled out of a £146,000 Indian Premier League deal with Kolkata Knight Riders citing concerns about spending more time in restricted, counter-Covid environments.

Last winter, he was the highest-scoring overseas player in the Pakistan Super League, with 255 runs in seven matches, when he returned home with ‘bubble fatigue’. He later ​re-joined Islamabad United for the knockout stages of the competition.

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