Hales, 33, was reportedly close to a recall for the original squads, as the selection panel considered its options to replace Jason Roy, who has been dropped following a prolonged run of poor form. The opportunity arose again following the bizarre injury sustained last week by Bairstow, who has been ruled out for several months after fracturing his leg while slipping at a golf course.
The recall came after a noticeable softening of attitude towards Hales from the team management, particularly in the wake of Eoin Morgan’s retirement. The former England captain was staunchly opposed to Hales’ return, having accused him of showing “complete disregard” for the team’s values, and creating “a lack of trust between Alex and the team”, following the revelation that he had failed two tests for recreational drugs prior to the 2019 World Cup.
However, on the field, Hales’ form has long merited another opportunity at international level. He was a stand-out player for Trent Rockets, last week’s winners of the men’s Hundred, with 259 runs at a strike rate of 152.35 including an agenda-setting opening partnership with Dawid Malan, and in the course of the tournament he became the first England player to pass 10,000 runs in the T20 format.
Many of those runs have been scored in overseas franchise leagues, including the Big Bash, in which he has played 45 matches for Sydney Thunder since 2019, with 11 half-centuries and one hundred. With the World Cup to be played in Australia in October and November, that experience was a key factor in Hales’ recall.