‘No, I can’t have Alex Hales in the squad’ – Ben Stokes told Eoin Morgan ahead of 2019 World Cup

Alex Hales tested positive for recreational usage drugs and was suspended for 21 days in the build-up for the mega event before the team was to be declared.

Alex Hales
Alex Hales. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

England won the 2019 ICC World Cup after waiting for many years. They had lost the finals three times and everything had boiled down to the 2019 edition, in which the home team was considered favorites and they came out victors, albeit in controversial fashion, defeating New Zealand in the finals.

However, their journey to the pinnacle was not without drama, as before the tournament, their ace opening batsman Alex Hales tested positive for recreational usage drugs and was suspended for 21 days in the build-up for the tournament before the team was to be declared. Captain Eoin Morgan sort out senior players from the group for their opinion on whether Alex Hales should be included in England side for World Cup.


Ben Stokes reveals he didn’t want Hales in England’s World Cup squad after failing drug tests

“Eoin Morgan made it his business to seek out the senior players within the squad to canvas their views as to what should be done about Alex’s situation. When asked directly what I would do, I came straight out with it: ‘No. I can’t have him in the squad’,” Ben Stokes wrote in his book ‘On Fire.’

He felt that Alex Hales had not sorted out help from his teammates as an individual in order to bring himself out of his troubles. Stokes mentioned that they were a tight-knit group under the leadership of Eoin Morgan and Hales keeping his troubles to him and not seeking help, kind of broke that sanctity of the group.

“Alex as an individual had not felt able to share his struggles with a group that he’d spent so much time with, in a team environment over the past few years, that bothered us. We had been a tight-knit team throughout Eoin Morgan‘s captaincy period and so reading the finer details in a newspaper was not a great way for us all to find out,” Stokes wrote.

He further mentioned that he gave the whole situation a long thought and even brought in his own experience of off-field issues on the 2017-18 tour of Australia. He asked himself whether Hales was at that level where an exception could be made for him and was he that indispensable to ignore his misgivings. “In the end, it came down to us protecting the culture and environment we had built. A World Cup only comes around every four years and retaining Alex as a squad player would have proved too much of a distraction,” he said.