Eoin Morgan hits out at Alex Hales and his ‘complete disregard for team values’

Updated: 24/06/2022


DUBLIN — England captain Eoin Morgan admitted Alex Hales was ditched from the squad for this summer’s World Cup because he had shown a “complete disregard” for team values after testing positive for recreational drugs for a second time.

Morgan offered a scathing assessment of Hales’ conduct, saying he only learned of the disgraced batsman’s 21-day drugs ban once it was leaked to the media despite contacting him last month after Nottinghamshire, his county, had released a statement stating he was missing cricket for “personal reasons”.

More importantly, Morgan accused the 30-year-old of losing the trust of the dressing-room after betraying the team values drawn up in the wake of the Bristol street brawl in September 2017 that led to Hales and Ben Stokes being banned and fined by the England & Wales Cricket Board.

‘We worked extremely hard on our culture’

“When the news broke on Friday I found out like everybody else,” said Morgan. “There was a concern around what was going on with Alex. I was certainly one guy who texted him after the first game he missed for Notts, asking how he was and if he needed any support.

“He assured me everything was fine. When the news broke the day before we met in Cardiff [for a training camp], it left me to think about how this would affect the team and the culture in particular.

“We’ve worked extremely hard on our culture in the last 18 months since Bristol. It is not just being judged as performers but how we are as role models who really need to step up and recognise that’s a huge part of our job.

“Unfortunately, Alex’s actions have shown complete disregard for those values. This has created a lack of trust between Alex and the team.”

‘He had to be deselected’

Morgan accused Hales of losing the trust of the dressing-room (Getty Images)

Morgan spoke with senior players in Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes before relaying the team’s sentiments towards Hales to director of cricket Ashley Giles.

“We got together as a group to discuss the effect the news coming out would have on the team,” he said. “We all agreed the best decision for the team was for Alex to be deselected.”

Losing Hales, conceded Morgan, makes England weaker for the World Cup. “Yes we are,” he said. “We will need at least 15 men to win that World Cup. Whatever way Alex would have dealt with it, the other 14 people would have been dragged down and that would have been quite a weight and that outweighed his performance.”

Cover up denial

Giles denied there had been any cover up, stating he was unable to tell the selectors about Hales’ positive test because of confidentiality clauses in the ECB’s recreational drugs policy. He also rejected claims by the Hales camp he had been told the latest indiscretion wouldn’t count against him in terms of selection.

“I didn’t think the statement was particularly good but he’s clearly disappointed and we get that,” he said.

“It could be seen as a string of poor behaviour over time has led us to this point. We’re building towards our biggest summer of cricket in 40-50 years. It’s too big a distraction for our environment.”

This post first appeared here

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