England's Alex Hales says he's "devastated" at being axed from England's provisional World Cup squad, as his management company claimed the batsman was given assurances that would not be the case.
Hales was included in the preliminary 15-man party, but last week's revelation that he had been suspended for an off-field incident not related to cricket put his involvement in considerable doubt.
Hales' latest misdemeanour comes just months after his suspension and fine over the infamous street brawl in Bristol in September 2017, also involving test allrounder Ben Stokes.
The England Cricket Board says it has "considered what is in the best interests of the team... to ensure they are free from any distractions" in dropping Hales from all squads before the international season.
The 30-year-old is therefore set to miss the one-off one-day international against Ireland and the limited-overs series against Pakistan that follows, as well as the World Cup campaign.
But Hales' representatives said, in a statement, it was "hugely disappointed" by the decision to cast him aside.
"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," the statement said.
"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 ECB insisted on Alex taking certain rehabilitation measures following his suspension. In line with both the ECB and PCA 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.
"It is unfortunate that a confidential matter made it to the public arena, but even before the publication of the story, Alex had again spoken to key members of the England organisation to express his regret and contrition.
"At that time, he again took away the message his World Cup place would be judged on playing merit.
"The fact all those assurances seem to have been rendered meaningless has understandably left Alex devastated. He will take time to reflect on both his actions and the subsequent decisions but will receive the support from his team he deserves.
"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."
Hales, with 2419 runs in 70 ODIs at an average of 37.79 runs and six centuries, was considered an enviable back-up option in an England batting line-up laden with big-hitting talent.
But now, he faces missing a monumental summer for England, as they try to win a 50-over global trophy for the first time.
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