The suspension that led to Alex Hales
missing the 2019 World Cup has been dropped as the England and Wales
Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed harsher financial penalties for those found to
have tested positive for recreational drugs.
Hales was removed from all England squads ahead of last year's
international summer after it was revealed the opening batsman was
serving a 21-day ban for failing a recreational drugs test for the
second time in his career.
But the ECB's revised policy this year will eradicate classified
suspensions for a second recreational drugs test failure in favour of
levying a 10 percent fine on a player's annual salary, up from five percent.
The first two violations would remain confidential but a third would
be made public and trigger a 12-month playing ban, with the ECB looking
to strike a balance in its regulations between deterrents and player
An ECB spokesperson said: "We can confirm that there has been an
update to the Recreational Drugs Policy for 2020. This was part of a
broad consultation involving stakeholders from the wider game including
first-class counties and PCA.
"The policy takes into account the important consideration of player
welfare whilst ensuring there are meaningful sanctions for each
violation. There was further consensus from all parties that any bans
will be made public."
With confidential suspensions at an end, only the player and senior
figures at their county and the ECB as well as the CEO of the
Professional Cricketers' Association will be aware of the first two
That should eliminate the chain of events that led to England axing
Hales, whose initial absence from the county circuit after being named
in the provisional World Cup squad was explained as the player taking a
break for "personal reasons".
England captain Eoin Morgan was among those to be caught off-guard when Hales' positive test came to light.
With that misdemeanour coming only a few months after he was
suspended and fined following his role in the Bristol street brawl in
2017, Morgan cited a "breakdown in trust" in Hales' removal from the
England squad. He has not played for his country since then.
- TEAMtalk media