Alex Hales says it “hurt massively” to lose his England place for off-field indiscretions and has vowed to prove he can become a more responsible member of the team.
Hales was stood down by the England and Wales Cricket Board in September after an early-hours incident in Bristol, which came following a one-day international win over the West Indies, but before the series had ended.
Ben Stokes was also out that night and is due to appear in magistrates’ court on February 13 charged with affray.
Hales missed the next two ODIs, but was selected for the current tour of Australia after being cleared by police in December, while Stokes was this week deemed available for selection for the first time since his suspension.
Both men face an internal disciplinary procedure once legal matters have run their course.
Reflecting on a tumultuous few months, Hales said: “It hurt massively at the time, to miss two games for something that happened off the field.
“It is disappointing and it will make me enjoy my time in an England shirt a hell of a lot more moving forward and cherish every moment I get on the field.
“In terms of going out in the middle of a series, that is the lesson I have learned from that incident.
“It is about being responsible when you are on England duty.
“You have eyes all over you and that brings responsibility on and off the field.. Responsibility on and off the field is something that will be coming into my game going forward.
“It has been a long few months but it is great to be back out here.”
From a purely sporting perspective, Hales’ absence at the back end of the summer came at an inopportune moment.
England’s one-day squad is currently teeming with players desperate to nail down a place ahead of next year’s home World Cup, with Hales, Jason Roy, and Jonny Bairstow effectively chasing two places at the head of the innings.
All three have played, and contributed well, in the one-day series which England currently lead 2-0 over Australia, but, when Stokes eventually returns, it seems likely one will be asked to step aside.
“I missed the last two ODIs (against the West Indies) and that allowed other guys to come in and do very well,” Hales admitted.
“Hopefully I can put that stuff in the past and now I’m looking forward to hopefully contributing to a series win. Some runs on a personal level would be great but being out there makes you realise you should cherish playing for England and the last couple of games have been really enjoyable.
“It is up to me now to score as many runs as I can. Playing for England is a massive honour, especially with a World Cup coming up at home next year.”
With Roy besting Hales’ national record innings of 180 in Melbourne and a Hales-Bairstow partnership of 117 crucial to victory in Brisbane it was suggested that it may ultimately be Stokes who is forced to the sidelines.
“Imagine that! I think he will be alright,” said Hales.
“I am sure he will be (hurting), he’s an incredibly proud guy and we are looking forward to welcoming him back in the squad. He is a huge player for England.”
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