Chris Woakes happy for Alex Hales to make England return

Pace bowler Chris Woakes says he would be happy to see Alex Hales return to the England side.

Batsman Hales has not played for England since being removed from the World Cup squad in May 2019 for an “off-field incident”, reportedly failing a drugs test.

“We all try to pull in the right direction,” said Woakes.

“If Alex is willing to do that then I imagine everyone would be happy to see him back playing for England.”

Cricket is set to return from the coronavirus shutdown in July, and England will next week name an enlarged group of about 30 players who will resume training with a view to playing Test and limited-overs matches.

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With a revamped schedule likely to be congested, necessitating separation between the Test and limited-overs squads, England could call on 31-year-old Hales, who averages almost 38 in 70 one-day internationals.

When Hales was dropped, captain Eoin Morgan said it was because of a “complete breakdown in trust” and that the rest of the squad supported the decision.

In February, Morgan said it would take a “considerable amount of time” to regain that trust.

Woakes, 31, said: “He’s gone through a tough time, being left out of the World Cup. Going on to see that team lift the trophy must have been difficult for him.

“If people have gone away for a time and worked on their weaknesses, they should be allowed a second chance.”

Hales’ highest score of 171 was once the England record, and he was the second highest run-scorer in last winter’s edition of the Big Bash League, Australia’s domestic Twenty20 competition.

“Alex is as a world-class player,” said Woakes. “I don’t 100% know what will happen, but I’d be happy to see Alex back in England colours.”

Woakes, 31, was among the England bowlers who returned to training on Thursday, at his home ground of Edgbaston.

As part of the protocols put in place by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Woakes was required to take his own temperature, enter information into an app, arrive at the ground in his training kit and wash his hands before the session began.

He has also been given his own set of six cricket balls that no-one else will touch.

“It’s my job, so it was nice to have some form of normality by going back to training,” he said.

“It’s been two months since I last bowled, and I was a little sore this morning. The first waddle to the toilet was a bit interesting, but the body is not too bad.”

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Chris Gayle criticises Ramnaresh Sarwan: ‘You’re a snake, you’re poison’

“Sarwan, you’re a snake. You’re wicked, you’re evil, you’re poison.”

West Indies legend Chris Gayle did not hold back as he criticised former Windies team-mate and captain Ramnaresh Sarwan in a remarkable 15-minute video on YouTube.

Batsman Gayle, 40, was released by Jamaica Tallawahs last week before the next edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) – and he is in no doubt that assistant coach Sarwan was to blame.

“What transpired with the Tallawahs, you had a big part to play,” said Gayle, who is the leading run-scorer in Twenty20 international history.

“You know, Sarwan, you’re not the most loved person in the Caribbean. No-one in your own country loves you.

“You’re so vindictive. You’re still immature, still stabbing people in the back.”

Gayle led the Tallahwahs to the CPL title in 2013 and 2016 and, after a spell with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, returned to the franchise last year.

Despite scoring 116 in his second game, he managed only 243 runs in 10 innings as the Tallawahs finished bottom of the table.

He has signed for St Lucia Zouks for this year’s tournament, which is due to start in August.

Gayle is West Indies’ leading run-scorer in one-day internationals and played 70 of his 103 Tests with Sarwan, now 39, who retired from international cricket in 2016.

“You are no good. You are despicable,” said Gayle, who has not played for West Indies since last year’s World Cup.

“You want the franchise, have it. There’s no Gayle. You run the show.”

The video was the second of three Gayle released about his departure from the Tallahwahs. He also claimed the management knew a month ago that they would release him but did not tell him at the time.

He suggested the tension with Sarwan dates back to their time playing age-group cricket.

“From 1996, that’s when our careers started in youth cricket days. We shared the same room in the West Indian Under-19s,” said Gayle.

“You allowed the management staff to send me home from Barbados. I forgive but I’ll never forget that.

“You told the management team you can’t sleep because Chris Gayle was watching TV too late in the night. That’s what I got sent home for.

“In everybody’s eyes you act as if you’re a saint, like you’re a good person.

“Sarwan, you’re evil.”

The BBC has contacted the Tallawahs for comment.

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