WE CALLED FOR HALES TO BE AXED
Morgan says senior players had ‘lack of trust’ in opener
The anger was still blazing within eoin Morgan as he took full responsibility for the axing of Alex hales over the failed drugs test the eCB tried to hush up.
Rarely has the usually calm and collected england limited-overs captain been so visibly furious than he was in his native Dublin yesterday as he explained why he and his senior players took the lead in discarding the errant team-mate who had simply run out of chances.
The eve of today’s first international of the summer should have seen the focus on the huge World Cup and Ashes challenges ahead and the introduction of a rare talent, Jofra Archer, who makes his debut against Ireland.
Instead, it was all about the disgraced figure of hales who, clearly, has also run out of friends in the england set-up after it emerged last week the ‘personal reasons’ given by Notts for his early-season absence were, in fact, a second failed test for recreational drugs.
Clearly, neither Morgan (right), nor coach Trevor Bayliss nor any of the selectors and players knew the reason why hales was missing until a journalist broke a story last Friday the eCB insist they were not able to tell because they were bound by confidentiality regulations. And when he did find out, Morgan quickly convened a meeting of senior players Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes at their pre- season training camp in Cardiff to effectively decide hales’ fate.
‘It left me to think how this would affect the team and in particular our culture,’ said Morgan, who had earlier been assured by hales that the ‘personal reasons’ behind his Notts absence would not keep him out of england action.
‘We’ve worked extremely hard for the last 18 months since the Bristol incident (which also involved hales) to put in place values everyone can adhere to. Unfortunately Alex’s actions have shown a complete disregard for those values and that created a lack of trust between him and the team.
‘So, on Saturday we got together as a group of senior players and we all agreed the best decision was for Alex to be de- selected. I relayed that to Ashley Giles, because we don’t have the final say, and I’m delighted with the way we’ve handled all this.’
It was england managing director Giles who, along with eCB chief executive Tom harrison, knew about the failed test but were sworn to secrecy by regulations put in place in 2012.
‘The advice we got from our legal guys was categorically we had a duty of confidentiality which we stuck to,’ said Giles. ‘Neither myself nor Tom lied, misled anyone nor covered up what went on. If we are bound by confidentiality we are unable to share it. So we kept our part of the bargain and maintained our integrity. Someone else clearly didn’t. That’s the problem.’ The uncomfortable truth, acknowledged by Giles, is that hales would have been opening the batting today if the news had remained out of the public domain. But he added: ‘It could be seen that a string of poor behaviour over time has led us to this point. I didn’t think the statement put out (by hales’ management) was particularly good but he’s clearly disappointed and we get that.
‘What is fundamental to this is a player’s welfare and the door isn’t closed to Alex whatever people think.
‘What we want to see is some really good behaviour over time from him and some good cricket, of course. We’re there to support him.’
As the World Cup door closes on hales, it opens today for Archer, who will be one of three england 50-over debutants along with Dawid Malan and Ben Foakes in a side weakened by the resting of key players with injury worries or because of involvement in the IPL.