Fast bowler Chris Woakes has backed Alex Hales’ return to the England team, saying he would be happy to see the batsman back in the frame following his controversial omission prior to last year’s World Cup.
Hales looked set to earn his spot in Trevor Bayliss’ team for the showpiece event in England but his career was dealt a mighty blow, following a 21-day ban for using recreational drugs.
The right-hander hasn’t played for England since a T20I clash with the West Indies in March last year, with limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan previously stating a ‘lack of trust’ has developed between Hales and the England set-up.
But, more than a year on, England is preparing to name its squads for the upcoming summer of cricket, significantly delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with Hales’ name highlighted for selection.
‘I’m a believer that if people serve their time, so to speak, and have gone away and worked on their weaknesses, then they should be allowed a second chance,’ said Woakes.
‘I don’t know what will happen, but I would certainly be happy to see Alex back in England colours. He’s obviously gone through a tough time, with being left out of the World Cup [last year] and then seeing that team go on to lift the trophy – that must have been difficult for him.
‘I think Alex is a world-class player. I’ve played a lot of cricket with him over the years, from a very young age. In a way, I felt sorry for him, but I understood the decision from both the management, the captain and the rest of the team.’
Hales has often proved to be one of England’s big hitters and can cause a lot of destruction at the top of the order, making England one of the most aggressive and dangerous teams in the world.
With 70 ODIs and 60 T20Is to his name already, the Nottinghamshire star is no unfamiliar face to English cricket fans.
‘I would imagine the majority would have the same view that I’ve just given – in terms of people deserving a second chance,’ added Woakes.
The West Indies and Pakistan are set to tour England in July and August for respective Test series, while Australia is also due a limited-overs series, but if these tours will go ahead as planned remains to be seen.