England’s World Cup contender Alex Hales has been suspended for 21 days for failing a drug test. According to a report in the Guardian, Hales is currently serving a 21-day ban after returning a second positive test, having pulled out of Nottinghamshire’s Royal London Cup campaign, shortly after the World Cup squad was announced, for undisclosed “personal reasons”.

Named last week in England’s preliminary World Cup squad, Hales was found to be at variance with England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) recreational drugs policy for the second time in his career.

The opener is understood to have tested positive for a recreational drug in recent weeks and his selection into the provisional squad means the English selectors were not aware of transgression.

Hales was suspended and fined by England last year after he and Ben Stokes were involved in a street fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.

Hales drugs violation was detected after he underwent a routine hair follicle test, which all professional cricketers in England are required to undergo at the start and end of every season. The test can detect substances in the system for up to three months.