Alex Hales targeting England return and says he has matured after being dropped before World Cup

Alex Hales says he has “matured” as a player and person and hopes to get back into England’s international plans.

The batsman was dropped ahead of last summer’s World Cup triumph after reportedly failing a drugs test and has not played for his country since.

Eoin Morgan said at the time of Hales’ axing that there had been a “breakdown in trust” between the Nottinghamshire man and his England team-mates – but has since insisted that the door is not closed on the 31-year-old, who has hit one T20I ton and six ODI centuries.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Hales said: “I just hope the damage that’s been done isn’t terminal and I get another bite of the cherry.

“I certainly feel I have matured. As a player and away from the game, I’ve moved on and grown from the mistakes I’ve made in my private life and hopefully people can forgive and forget.

“I feel I’m in a good head space and hopefully I’ll get the chance to show that in the group environment again. Obviously I’d love to get my place back, playing international cricket is the highlight of any player’s career.

“Like Morgs has said, I guess time is the biggest healer. I just don’t know how long that is going to go on for. It can be tough to rebuild that trust when you are not in the close-knit circles.”

Hales averaged 42.89 across 22 T20 innings for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League this winter – and feels T20 cricket is his best avenue back into the England squad.

“I think I’ve got a lot to offer, particularly in T20. It’s definitely the peak of my career,” he added. “In terms of T20, this is the most comfortable I’ve felt.”

Hales – who says the aftermath of the Bristol incident in September 2017 was “mentally exhausting” and “put me in a really dark place” – admits he was gutted to miss out on a place in England’s victorious World Cup squad.

But the right-hander remains proud of the part he played in transforming the country’s white-ball fortunes after a disastrous 2015 World Cup – and is delighted his team-mates got their hands on their maiden global 50-over trophy last summer after edging New Zealand on boundary countback.

“When you lose your place in the side leading up to a World Cup on home soil – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – that is hugely, hugely disappointing,” added Hales.

“I am always going to have a part of me that thinks, ‘I should have been part of that if I hadn’t made a few errors in my personal life’.

“You look back on what the guys achieved and it’s nothing short of what they deserve. The determination, hard work and talent in that team was incredibly special. It’s something the whole country should be proud of.

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