Morgan: Imminent England return for Hales not likely

Alex Hales' return to the England team does not appear imminent after limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan suggested "more time" is needed before the opener can be forgiven.

Hales has not played for his country in any format since March 2019 after he was removed from the Cricket World Cup squad following an "off-field incident", with reports claiming he served a suspension for failing a drugs test.

England went on to win that tournament but Morgan has not forgotten how his team's preparations were disrupted by Hales.

All-rounder Chris Woakes recently stated he would welcome Hales back into the fold, but ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is due to begin in Australia in October, Morgan stressed he does not think enough water has passed under the bridge.

"Alex is in a unique position, probably in a position nobody else has found themselves in before," Morgan told reporters.

"On the cusp of a World Cup, the huge breakdown in trust between him and the players was extremely dramatic, given the circumstances surrounding the four years and the build-up and the way things unfolded.

"I've spoken to Alex and certainly see an avenue for him to come back to playing cricket but, like in life and in any sport, when there's a breakdown of trust, the only healer in that is time.

"It's only been 12 or 13 months since the incident which could have cost us four years of hard work.

"Given it could have derailed a World Cup campaign, I think it might take some more time, yes."

Hales, 31, scored the second most runs in last season's Big Bash League and Morgan is the only English batsman to have scored more runs than him in T20 internationals.

His unbeaten 116 against Sri Lanka in 2014 remains the highest individual score for an England player.

"It's obviously not about performance with Alex," Morgan added.

"Alex is a fantastic player, it's never been discussed whether he's good enough to be in the squad or not.

"Playing cricket for England is about on and off the field, values we adhere to or do our best to adhere to, and Alex showed complete disregard for them.

"Building up that for as long as he can and then hopefully an opportunity will present itself down the line."