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Alex Hales suspended for 21 days following failed drug test, World Cup in doubt

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 27 April 2019, 06:11 PM
Alex Hales has failed a recreational drug test and has been suspended for 21 days. (Image credit: Twitter)
Alex Hales has failed a recreational drug test and has been suspended for 21 days. (Image credit: Twitter)
HIGHLIGHTS
    • Sam Billings' dislocated shoulder has ruled him out for three to five months.
    • Alex Hales plays for Notthinghamshire in the County circuit.
    • England will take on Ireland and Pakistan in the build-up to the World Cup.

Alex Hales was included in the England squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and his inclusion boosted a top order that has the likes of power hitters like Jos Buttler and Jason Roy. However, before the ICC Cricket World Cup, Hales raised a few eyebrows when he announced that he was taking a break from cricket during the Royal London Cup. However, it has now emerged that Hales is serving a 21-day suspension for a failed drugs test. In a report in The Guardian, Hales has been suspended for 21 days for failing a drug test. The right-hander was found to be at variance with England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) recreational drugs policy for the second time in his career. The opener is understood to have tested positive for a recreational drug in recent weeks and his selection into the provisional squad means the English selectors were not aware of transgression.

Hales was suspended and fined by England last year after he and Ben Stokes were involved in a street fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017. Hales drugs violation was detected after he underwent a routine hair follicle test, which all professional cricketers in England are required to undergo at the start and end of every season. The test can detect substances in the system for up to three months. This has put Hales’ World Cup place in jeopardy and this has already mounted England’s woes in their build-up to the World Cup which will involve a five-match series against Pakistan.

Billings was ruled out of England's limited-overs matches against Ireland and Pakistan with a dislocated left shoulder on Friday.  The Kent player was injured in the opening over of Kent's One-Day Cup match against Glamorgan on Thursday, his first appearance of the season for his county after a stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. Surrey's Ben Foakes has been called into the England squad to replace him. Though not in the 15-man squad for the World Cup, Billings, who has played 15 one-day internationals, had been in line to face both Ireland in next Friday's one-off ODI and Pakistan in a Twenty20 match two days later.

The 27-year-old now joins a list of injury concerns for head coach Trevor Bayliss which also includes Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, and Joe Denly. With England's first-choice wicketkeepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow both being rested, Foakes is now in line to make his international white-ball debut. Kent announced Billings would require surgery and would be sidelined for between three and five months, which would rule him out of any potential involvement in the World Cup, taking place in England and Wales from next month.

First Published: Saturday, April 27, 2019 06:09 PM
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