The forthcoming Cricket World Cup hosts England have suffered a major setback a month before the start of the tournament. Alex Hales, elected to England’s World Cup team, has failed a drug test, putting his in the final World Cup squad in major doubt right ahead of the announcement which is due on May 22. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) sentenced the cricketer to suspension for 21 days on Friday.

The 30-year-old had earlier missed the start of Nottinghamshire’s white-ball season citing personal reasons. However, it was later revealed that the reason was of a much severe nature as Hales had tested positive for recreational drugs for a second time.

Hales is an opener of the English team. He has played 70 ODIs, 60 T20 and 10 Test matches. He has been part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams of Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The ECB have refused to release an official statement on the matter, with a spokesperson quoted as saying: “We have a duty of confidentiality, therefore we are unable to provide any further comment”.

According to Dailymail, A first offence in cricket is treated privately with support from the Professional Cricketers Association and the chief medical officer at a player’s county but a second violation invokes a three-week ban and a fine constituting five percent of a player’s salary.