Alex Hales’ long international absence has come to an end after he was recalled to England’s squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia as a replacement for the injured Jonny Bairstow.

The Nottinghamshire batsman, 33, has not played for his country in three and a half years, having been dropped on the eve of the 2019 World Cup due to two failed recreational drug tests.

While his official ban was only 21 days, as per England and Wales Cricket Board policy, he was left in the cold following what then-white-ball captain Eoin Morgan described as a “complete breakdown in trust.”

Now that Morgan has retired, Bairstow has been sidelined by a “freak” leg injury, and fellow opener Jason Roy has been dropped due to a lack of form, circumstances have conspired to give Hales a second chance.

Hales recently became the first Englishman to score 10,000 runs in the Twenty20 format, and he also has valuable experience in Australia’s Big Bash League, where he is familiar with the tournament pitches.

In 60 T20 internationals, the hard-hitting batter has scored 1 644 runs at an average of 31, with a strike rate of more than 136 per 100 balls.

Hales will also be available for the upcoming Pakistan tour.

In a brief team update issued on Wednesday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed the player’s recall.

Test captain Ben Stokes said of Hales’ return to the international fold ahead of the third Test against South Africa: “At the end of the day, everyone’s goal is to win that World Cup for England.”

“My goal, Alex’s goal, and everyone else on that team’s goal is to win the World Cup.” It’s an injury that opens the door for someone else.

“Alex is definitely one of the best T20 players in the world, and unfortunately because of what happened with Jonny, we had to call up another player, and Alex is definitely one of the guys that bowlers don’t want to bowl at in the T20 format.”

When asked if he still had trust issues with Hales, Stokes responded, “I haven’t been in the leadership capacity in the white-ball group for however long.”

“But when it comes to big moments in games and World Cup games and knockout games, you want your best players to be there to take that pressure on, and he (Hales) certainly is one of those.”

The T20 World Cup begins on October 16.

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