ECB declines to comment on reported Hales suspension

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has declined to comment on a report Alex Hales is serving a suspension for recreational drug use.

According to a story published by the Guardian on Friday, Hales' recent absence for Nottinghamshire is due to a 21-day ban for falling foul of the ECB's drug policy.

Nottinghamshire had cited "personal reasons" for the England batsman not featuring at the start of their Royal London Cup campaign.

Asked by Omnisport about Hales' situation, the ECB said in a statement: "We have a duty of confidentiality, therefore we are unable to provide any further comment."

The speculation comes as England begin preparations for this year's Cricket World Cup on home soil, with Hales included in a preliminary 15-man squad for the tournament.

Hales, 30, was suspended and fined by England last year for his involvement in an incident with international team-mate Ben Stokes outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.

England face Ireland next Friday in a one-off 50-over fixture at the start of a busy schedule that includes a five-match ODI series against Pakistan prior to the World Cup, which begins on May 30.

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