Received unanimous response from team-mates on inclusion of Alex Hales: Buttler

England white-ball skipper Jos Buttler has said he received unanimous response from team-mates on bringing 33-year-old opening batter Alex Hales into the T20I squad, following the player failing a drugs test in 2019 and being left in cricket wilderness for three years owing to the misdemeanour.

Buttler, who is currently in Pakistan with the England T20I side, though he is unlikely to play in the first five matches of the seven-game series due to a calf injury, said he had spoken to several players in the side to ensure no one would have an issue with Hales’s presence in the side.

Hales has got a second opportunity after he failed a recreational drug tests just before the 2019 World Cup at home under then-skipper Eoin Morgan, and he is keen to make up for lost time under the new set-up of skipper Buttler and coach Matthew Mott.

Morgan had claimed in 2019 following Hales’s misdemeanour with recreational drugs that the opener had “shown a complete disregard” for team values, effectively closing the door for the batter till such time he was at the helm.

After Morgan retired from international cricket recently, and Jonny Bairstow suffered a freak injury, Hales made a return to the white-ball side under the new setup and is hoping to stake a strong claim for a permanent berth with good performance in Pakistan.

Buttler said he had consulted the squad before Hales came into the side.

“I spoke to lots of the senior players to make sure that no one would have any issues with Alex being back in the team if we wanted to select him,” Buttler was quoted as saying by The Cricketer in Karachi. “No one had any issues.

“He’s (Hales) obviously been in excellent form. We know what a talented player he is and he’s gained a lot of experience as well since the last time he played for England,” added Buttler.

“It’s no secret that when Alex got left out of the 2019 World Cup squad, Eoin did a similar kind of thing (speak to all his team-mates to get their opinion). He spoke to many of the senior players, all of the coaching staff and as a team, I think it’s important that you give ownership to other guys and gather opinions.

“I just wanted to double-check. I had my own view, but I wanted to just make sure that everyone was on the same page. Everyone was, so that’s great. I’m just looking forward to having him back in and around the group. It won’t be long until (stand-in skipper for Pakistan tour) Moeen Ali is taking the mick out of him again and all will be well.”

Hales has played extensively in Pakistan and Australia, with the 33-year-old giving impressive performances for his franchise in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the Big Bash League (BBL). In 28 PSL matches, he has notched up 895 runs while he is the BBL’s highest overseas scorer, with 1,857 runs in 60 innings, according to the report.

“He’s (Hales) played for a lot of franchises and had great success out here at the PSL,” added Buttler. “Looking ahead to the (T20) World Cup, his Big Bash record is fantastic. Australia is a place that he’s done well, and so he seemed the obvious pick.”

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