Dropped Hales could no longer be trusted, says Morgan

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019 file photo, England's Alex Hales leaves the field after his dismissal during the fourth One Day International cricket match against West Indies at the National Stadium in St. George's, Grenada. Hales will not play in the upcoming Cricket World Cup after being removed from all of England's squads for the international season. The England and Wales Cricket Board says the decision was based on "creating the right environment within the team and ensuring that there are no unnecessary distractions." Hales has recently been suspended for an undisclosed off-the-field incident. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)

LONDON — Alex Hales was removed from England's squad for the Cricket World Cup following a meeting of the country's senior players who believed he showed a lack of respect for team values and could no longer be trusted.

Speaking publicly about Hales' deselection for the first time, England captain Eoin Morgan delivered a scathing condemnation of the batsman's behavior.

"Unfortunately, Alex's actions have shown complete disregard for those (team) values," a visibly unhappy Morgan said Thursday. "This has created a lack of trust between Alex and the team.

"On Saturday we got together as a group of senior players to discuss the effect the news coming out would have on the team and the culture. We all agreed the best decision for the team was for Alex to be deselected."

Hales, who was likely to be a back-up batsman in England's squad, was dropped for an "off-field incident" that led to a recent suspension. It was the second time Hales has been sanctioned under the England and Wales Cricket Board's disciplinary policy, having been suspended and fined for his part in a street brawl also involving England teammate Ben Stokes in September 2017.

It has been reported in British newspapers that the 30-year-old Hales was serving a 21-day ban after twice testing positive for recreational drugs.

Hales has accused England's hierarchy of reneging on promises , saying he was given assurances that his latest suspension would not affect his selection for the World Cup.

Morgan said England's players had "worked extremely hard on our culture" in the wake of the late-night incident involving Stokes and Hales in Bristol, which eventually saw Stokes cleared by a court on a charge of affray.

"It really did open our eyes to ourselves, not just being judged as performers but how we are as role models, who really need to step up and recognize that's a huge part of our job," Morgan said.

"We will need at least 15 men to win the World Cup and, whatever way Alex would have dealt with it, the other 14 people would have been dragged down and that would have been quite a weight taken forward. I don't think we have cast him adrift ... (but) to deselect him we felt was the best decision simply because he did not adhere to everything that we have been working towards for a very long time."

England starts a busy summer of international cricket with an ODI against Ireland on Friday. It is one of the team's warmup games ahead of the World Cup, which starts on May 30.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

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