Alex Hales: England's Eoin Morgan says 'more time' needed before batsman can return

England batsman Alex Hales plays a shot during a one-day international
England won last year's World Cup in Alex Hales' absence

Captain Eoin Morgan says it needs "more time" before Alex Hales returns to the England side, saying he could have "derailed" last year's World Cup bid.

Hales has not played for England since being removed from the World Cup squad in May 2019 for an "off-field incident" - reportedly failing a drugs test.external-link

England will next week name a training squad of 30 players with a view to playing Tests and limited-overs games.

Seamer Chris Woakes said he would be happy to see batsman Hales, 31, return.

However, Morgan said: "I've spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back - but when there's a breakdown of trust, the only healer is time.

"It's only been 12 or 13 months since the incident, which could have cost us four years of hard work.

"Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, it might take some more time."

Cricket is set to return from the coronavirus shutdown in July and, with a revamped schedule likely to be congested, it could necessitate separate Test and limited-overs squads.

Nottinghamshire's Hales averages almost 38 in 70 one-day internationals and was the second highest run-scorer in last winter's edition of the Big Bash League, Australia's domestic Twenty20 competition.

"It's obviously not about performance with Alex," said Morgan. "Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field - values we adhere to - and Alex showed complete disregard for them.

"He needs to build that up for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line."

The T20 World Cup is set to take place in Australia from 18 October to 15 November, but Morgan said he would be "surprised" if it went ahead.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Australia and New Zealand have done a fantastic job [handling the pandemic], particularly New Zealand, but one of the things that both countries will be worried about is if the outbreak somehow starts again, what level of immunity they have within the community.

"To take a World Cup to Australia, with eight different venues and 16 different nations all coming to their shores so soon after this pandemic, I think is a huge ask."

The International Cricket Council will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss whether the tournament can be staged this year.

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