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ECB, Hales and England’s chances for winning the World Cup

Alex Hales - back playing with Nottinghamshire

The England and Wales Cricket Board has once again proved that, in the handling of the Alex Hales matter they have managed, yet again, to find themselves in the middle of another PR quagmire.

Alex Hales was called up to England’s preliminary World Cup squad on April 17th, and with the tournament just one month away, he would have been all but guaranteed a spot in the final 15. When Alex Hales was removed from the England squad, on April 29th (after it was revealed that he’d failed a recreational drugs test for the second time) the England batsman was, at the time, already serving a three-week suspension - although his county, Nottinghamshire, had announced that it was a break from the game for “personal reasons”, when he was not selected for a county match on April 19th.

How that affects the typical punter's sports betting plans and England's World Cup chances who knows? England with Hales are probably a better bet than without him, however, more to the point is that when did the ECB management know about him failing the drugs test, as they must have known prior to him being selected for the initial World Cup squad announcement?

There’s some irony here in that through their muddling, the ECB may just have come across an outcome to this untimely ‘hot potato’. In fact, the England team is believed to have largely accepted the suspension as the right option. For Hales to yet again fail a drugs test, and in the lead-up to a major International tournament, after already having received a sanction for the part he played in the Ben Stokes brawl, says something about Hales’ current mental state of mind.

However, none of this goes towards exonerating the ECB management, which, in attempting to do the right thing by Hales, has managed to contort themselves into a PR quagmire. There are valid reasons for choosing not to disclose the failed drug test to the public. These are more to do with safeguarding and the welfare of the player and giving players the chance to get any help they might need is an enlightened and humane policy, after all – but, the ECB management allowed Hales to be called up for the World Cup squad seemingly knowing the outcome of the drugs test and have now dropped him from the squad.

If this costs England a decent chance of winning the World Cup, it may not be forgiven by the fans.

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