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'Alex Hales deserves a second chance' - Chris Woakes
England News

'Alex Hales deserves a second chance' - Chris Woakes

Chris Woakes has backed opening batsman Alex Hales to make a comeback to England's national side after he was removed from the set-up owing to recreational drug use.

Hales was in the run to be England's first-choice opener at the World Cup last year but was dropped just ahead of the tournament when it emerged he had tested positive for drugs.

England then enjoyed a successful World Cup campaign without the services of Hales and contested several limited-overs fixtures following the showpiece event with no sign of the 31-year-old.

Despite lingering in the wilderness for long, Hales is in line for a possible white-ball recall as international cricket returns after a coronavirus hiatus.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, England are expected to announce larger Test and one-day squads to meet the requirements of a condensed international calendar.

Replying to a question probing the continued absence of Hales from the team, Warwickshire all-rounder Woakes gave a positive response, though he maintained the final call was up to the selectors.

"I don't know 100 percent if it's the right decision, it's not my call.

"I'm a believer that people serve their time, so to speak. He's gone through a tough time being left out of the World Cup and going on to see that team lift the trophy must have been difficult for him.

"I think if people have gone away for a time and worked on their weaknesses they should be allowed a second chance."

Hales, known for his explosive batting credentials, broke the record for England's highest individual score in ODIs when he racked up 171 against Pakistan in 2016, only for it to be bettered by Jason Roy two years later.

His actions weeks before the 2019 World Cup had brought harsh condemnation from skipper Eoin Morgan but the England captain has gradually warmed up to the idea of Hales rejoining the side.

Woakes thus reiterated that Hales's ceaseless talent left no doubts over his ability and his imminent re-integration in the England squad was a matter of time.

"Alex is a world-class player. I have played a lot of cricket with him from a young age actually.

"In a way I felt sorry for him but I understand the decision from the management, captain and rest of the team. I don't 100 percent know what will happen but I'd be happy to see Alex back in England colours," he said.

"We have a culture and an environment in the England squad where we all try to pull in the right direction.

"If Alex is willing to do that, then I imagine everyone would be happy to see him back playing for England."