England batsman Alex Hales has been left 'devastated' after being withdrawn from the 15-member national squad for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which is slated to take place from May 30 to July 14 at the United Kingdom.
Besides this, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had also dropped Hales for the lone ODI against Ireland on May 3 and the subsequent limited-overs fixtures against Pakistan in May after he was tested positive for recreational drug use.
The batsman is currently serving a 21-day ban besides also being handed a fine of five percent of his annual salary.
Following the axing, the 30-year-old batsman released a statement through his management company and expressed his disappointment over the England selectors' decision to drop him from the national squads for the World Cup as well as the lead-up games.
"We are hugely disappointed at the treatment of our client, Alex Hales, by the ECB following his ejection from England's preliminary World Cup squad," ESPNcricinfo quoted the company as saying.
The statement stated that Alex absolutely recognised he made a "huge mistake" and that he had apologised profusely for his actions with the senior member of the ECB.
"Nobody is seeking to excuse Alex's behaviour in this instance. He absolutely acknowledges and recognises he made a huge mistake. But as part of the ongoing process, both he and his representatives have been involved in many conversations with senior members of the ECB over the past few weeks where Alex has apologised profusely for his actions," the company said.
Hales' management company further claimed that the batsman and his representatives were given assurances by the ECB that the ban on him would not affect his selection for the World Cup.
"The ECB insisted on Alex taking certain rehabilitation measures following his suspension. In line with both the ECB and PCA [Professional Cricketers' Association] guidelines, those measures must remain confidential. However, at every stage, Alex fulfilled his obligations and both he and his representatives were given assurances that any suspension - again under the ECB's guidelines - could not affect his selection for the World Cup," the statement said.
"The fact all those assurances seem to have been rendered meaningless has understandably left Alex devastated.Until the matter became public, the ECB had fully observed their own process and guidelines and given Alex the support and guidance laid out in those regulations. It is now disappointing to learn these guidelines seem to have been disregarded while, in this instance, player welfare would also appear to be low on their list of priorities," it added.
On Monday, the ECB managing director Ashley Giles had said that the decision to drop Hales from the national squad has been taken keeping in mind the best interest of the national side and in order to create the right environment around the team.
As a result, Ben Duckett and Dawid Malan have been included in the squad as Hales' replacement for lone ODI against Ireland and subsequent T20I against Pakistan. Meanwhile, James Vince has been called up for England's five-match ODI series against Pakistan from May 8.