England’s treatment of Alex Hales has been described as “really unfair” by Shane Bond.
Hales has not played an international match for almost two years after being deemed to have shown a “complete disregard” (in the words of Eoin Morgan) for England’s team values by failing tests for recreational drugs. Hales was also present on the night Ben Stokes was arrested in Bristol in September 2017 – Hales was not charged and Stokes was cleared in court of affray.
Bond, the former New Zealand fast bowler, believes Hales is “being punished way too much”. As Hales’ coach at Sydney Thunder, Bond said he had “matured” into a “really good man” and suggested it was time for the England team to move on from the past.
And Bond, who has formerly fulfilled a short-term stint as a bowling consultant with the England side, revealed no one from the ECB had been in touch to check on Hales’ behaviour; a situation he described as a failure of “due diligence”.
“I’ve read a lot from the England camp about how it’s about trust issues,” Bond told Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “Well, if that’s the case, I want to know how they signed off on that because I’m still waiting for the phone call about how he’s going over here.
“If you’re going to make it about trust then you need to do your due diligence and see what’s actually happening but he’s been here for two seasons and no one’s rung us from the ECB to ask how he’s fitted in and what he’s been doing.
“I just think that’s really unfair because he’s being punished for something that happened nearly three years ago.
“Lots of young men make mistakes but he’s learnt from it and grown up. He’s matured and he’s a really good man that is just being punished way too much.”
Bond’s words come after Hales finished an outstanding BBL campaign. He is, at present, the competition’s highest run-scorer (he has 543; nobody else has reached 500), scorer of the highest individual score (110 made against Sydney Sixers), striker of the most sixes (30; the next highest is 25) and has the highest strike-rate (161.60) of anyone with 300 runs.
Despite that, however, Hales has revealed he has had no contact from the England management. That left Bond calling for someone from the ECB to “just have the courtesy” of letting Hales “know what he needs to do” to win a recall.
“How much longer will this go on, because it’s been nearly three years now,” Bond continued. “You’ve seen other incidents in the past where people have been forgiven and moved on so you’ve got to wonder if it’s down to personality clashes rather than actually about trust or whatever it may be.
“What really disappoints me is that no-one from the ECB has given him any clarity about what he’s meant to do and how he can rebuild that trust.
“He’s been a great servant to England cricket and is too good a player not for someone to just have the courtesy of letting him know what he needs to do. What’s been happening is really unfair.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.