Alex Hales
Hales scored 259 runs for Trent Rockets in The Hundred this summer

Alex Hales has been called up by England for the first time since 2019 as a replacement for Jonny Bairstow in their Twenty20 World Cup squad.

The 33-year-old has not played for England since being dropped from the 50-over World Cup squad in March 2019 because of an “off-field incident”.

Hales was suspended after failing a test for recreational drug use.

Bairstow, 32, was ruled out last week after suffering a possible broken left leg while playing golf.

As well as replacing Bairstow in the T20 World Cup squad, Hales has been added to the T20 squad for September’s tour of Pakistan.

Speaking in February 2020, then-England captain Eoin Morgan said “there was a breakdown in trust between Hales and the team” and “a considerable amount of time was needed to regain that trust”.

He had previously been suspended over his part in an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017, which saw England team-mate Ben Stokes charged with but later cleared of affray.

In November last year, he apologised for “all the offence” he had caused after a photo showing him wearing black make-up was published.

In a video he posted on Instagram, Hales said: “I guess my 20s was full of mistakes like that, reckless mistakes off the field that cost me, let down family, let down team-mates, let down friends, close relationships I had during my 20s.”

The Nottinghamshire batter, who has scored 1,644 runs in 60 T20 internationals, has impressed with lots of runs for his county and said “the last three years have probably been the best I’ve played in T20 cricket”.

In May, England’s director of men’s cricket Rob Key said Hales had “done his time”.

Speaking before Thursday’s third Test against South Africa, England’s red-ball captain Stokes said: “Alex is definitely one of the best T20 players in the world. Unfortunately, with what happened with Jonny, we had to call another player up – and Alex is definitely one of the guys that bowlers don’t want to be bowling at in the T20 format.”

When asked about Hales’ previous issues in the England set-up, Stokes added: “I’ve not been in the leadership capacity in the white-ball group for however long.

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

England squad for the Men’s T20 World Cup: Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Travelling Reserves: Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Tymal Mills.

England squad for T20 series in Pakistan: Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Harry Brook, Jordan Cox, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, Alex Hales, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Luke Wood, Mark Wood.

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