Alex Hales has been left “devastated” after he was removed from England’s preliminary World Cup squad.
The batsman, who it emerged last week had been suspended for an off-field incident not related to cricket, had been given assurances he would not be dropped, according to his management company.
But England said on Monday they had “considered what is in the best interests of the team… to ensure they are free from any distractions” in removing Hales from all squads ahead of the international summer.
However, Hales’ representatives said in a statement released to Press Association Sport they were “hugely disappointed” by the decision and claimed the assurances the player received over his position “seem to have been rendered meaningless”.
The statement said: “We are hugely disappointed at the treatment of our client, Alex Hales, by the ECB following his ejection from England’s preliminary World Cup squad.
“Nobody is seeking to excuse Alex’s behaviour in this instance. He absolutely acknowledges and recognises he made a huge mistake.
“However, at every stage, Alex fulfilled his obligations and both he and his representatives were given assurances that any suspension – again under the ECB’s guidelines – could not affect his selection for the World Cup.
“It is unfortunate that a confidential matter made it to the public arena but even before the publication of the story, Alex had again spoken to key members of the England organisation to express his regret and contrition.
“At that time, he again took away the message his World Cup place would be judged on playing merit.
“The fact all those assurances seem to have been rendered meaningless has understandably left Alex devastated.”
Ashley Giles, ECB managing director of England Cricket, was insistent this was not the end of the line for Hales’ international career when announcing the decision to drop him.
He said: “We have thought long and hard about this decision. I want to make it clear this is not the end of Alex’s career as an England player.”
Hampshire captain James Vince has been called up as Hales’ replacement for the five-match ODI series against Pakistan.
Vince had already been named in the party for the preceding Ireland match and Twenty20 clash with Pakistan.
Nottinghamshire batsman Ben Duckett and Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan have been added to England’s squad for those matches.
Opener Jason Roy has withdrawn from the squad for the Ireland ODI and the Pakistan Twenty20 due to a back spasm and will instead join up for the Pakistan series, as will seamer Mark Wood who will now play Royal London One-Day Cup matches for Durham.
But it emerged last week he had been sanctioned under the ECB’s disciplinary policy for a second time as a spokesperson for the batsman said he had been suspended for an “off-field incident”.
His latest misdemeanour comes only a few months after he was suspended and fined by the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission for his role in the Bristol street brawl, also involving international team-mate Ben Stokes, in September 2017 as well as social media posts.