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Alex Hales’s three-year exile from international cricket is over, with England calling up the opener to their squad for the Twenty20 World Cup as a replacement for Jonny Bairstow.

Hales is set be be announced in England’s T20 World Cup squad on Wednesday and will also be added to England’s squad for the T20 series in Pakistan, which begins on Sep 20.

After testing positive for recreational drugs before the 2019 World Cup, Hales was dropped from the England set-up, with then captain Eoin Morgan saying that he had showed a “complete disregard” for the team’s values and creating “a lack of trust between Alex and the team”. But Morgan’s international retirement earlier this year has paved the way for Hales to win a recall.

During his three years away from international cricket, Hales has maintained his standing as one of the leading T20 openers in the world. He was the top run scorer in the 2020/21 Big Bash tournament in Australia, showing his quality in Australian conditions, and helped the Trent Rockets win this season’s Hundred tournament.

Hales has a fine T20 international record, averaging 31 with a strike rate of 137 in his 60 matches. During the 2014 T20 World Cup he scored an undefeated 116 against Sri Lanka, which remains the only century by an England batsman in the T20 World Cup.

With Bairstow ruled out after sustaining an injury playing golf, England were eager to call upon an experienced player, especially given the recent retirement of Morgan and the decision to drop Jason Roy after a torrid spell with the bat this summer. Hales will now effectively be tussling with Phil Salt to partner Jos Buttler during the T20 World Cup, with the seven matches in Pakistan giving Hales the opportunity to make his case. But, after being recalled, Hales appears to be the favourite to partner Buttler come England’s World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Perth on October 22.

Last week England managing director Rob Key made it clear that Hales was being considered for selection, and revealed that Hales had contacted him after initially being omitted from the World Cup said.

“I said on a number of occasions that I feel Alex Hales has done his time for his misdemeanours,” Key said. ”Now it’s on form, selection, whether we feel they are the best person to go out there.”

Alex Hales to win England recall and end three-year international exile

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