Alex Hales’ continued omission must be down to ‘some other reason’, not just drugs, claims Nasser Hussain

Nasser Hussain, astonished by England’s continued omission of Alex Hales, asserted that the opener’s exclusion cannot be just down to his failed drug test, claiming that there must be ‘some other reason’ for his absence. Despite picking a ‘C’ team against Pakistan, ECB overlooked an in-form Hales.

Chaos ensued in the English camp on Tuesday as seven members from the ODI set-up testing positive for Covid-19 forced the ECB to name a completely fresh squad for the Pakistan ODIs. With close to 20 first-team players out of the mix, many expected the ECB to finally hand a recall to estranged opener Alex Hales but that wasn’t to be as the selectors instead opted to pick a young and inexperienced squad. Two years ago, Hales, after failing multiple drug tests days ahead of the 2019 World Cup, was alienated by England, but the continued absence of the 32-year-old opener, despite him piling runs across the globe, has raised eyebrows.

Weighing in on the Hales saga, former English skipper Nasser Hussain reckoned that there is more to the issue than what meets the eye. The general consensus is that Hales has been frozen out of the set-up due to his actions two years ago, but Hussain is of the opinion that there must be ‘some other reason’ for the explosive opener’s continued absence.

“The one glaring absentee from this new-look England squad is Alex Hales. All I can say is that there must be something else at play here — because his non-selection cannot just be about those failed drugs tests a couple of years ago,” Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column.

“As we have seen with other recent indiscretions, people forgive, forget and move on. So there must be some other reason those involved with the team hierarchy do not want him back.”

Despite Morgan publicly claiming that the door is open for Hales, nothing has materialized in two years, with the Nottinghamshire man not even making it to training camps that involve a large chunk of cricketers. Hussain reckoned that, in ECB’s eyes, Hales has become ‘unselectable’.

“To use one of their terms, he is now ‘unselectable’ and you must think that under this present regime, the door is firmly closed on him.”

But despite being alienated from the English set-up, Hales has continued to rack up the runs in leagues across the globe. Earlier this year, the opener finished as the highest run-getter in BBL 10, and he also has been in terrific form in the Vitality Blast, having posted scores of 101* and 60* in his last 5 innings. Hussain labelled Hales ‘an incredible white-ball talent’.

“From a cricketing point of view — and that is all I can comment on because I have never shared a dressing room with him, nor do I know him — that is a real shame because he is an incredible white-ball batting talent.

“But, as I say, there must be something else behind the scenes because these are sensible men in charge who will not have taken such decisions lightly.”

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