England’s Joe Root said that the omission of batsman Alex Hales has had a unifying effect on the team. Hales had been named in the preliminary squad for the World Cup, that starts on May 30, despite serving a 21-day suspension following an “off-field incident”, which The Guardian later reported was a positive test for recreational drugs. After the matter went public, Hales was subsequently dropped from the team. Captain Eoin Morgan said that the incident had led to a “complete breakdown in trust” and that all the senior players of the team agreed that dropping Hales was the best decision.
“Yes, absolutely,” Root is quoted as saying in a BBC Sport report. “Now we’re back playing cricket, that is really good for the group. We can concentrate on our full focus being on the cricket going into the World Cup.” Root, who is England’s Test captain, also said that Jofra Archer can still make a late entry into the World Cup squad. The Barbados-born pacer was impressive during the little play that was possible in England’s washed out first ODI against Pakistan.
“He’s been extremely impressive so far,” said Root. “It’s early days, but the way he bowled yesterday was particularly good. “When guys come in and perform well, that is good for the squad. If guys are performing at the best of their ability, that will improve the standard of the group.” Root also clarified that Archer’s potential late entry won’t cause any disharmony in the team. “I don’t think he’s created any rifts, uncertainty, or problems in the team, it’s purely providing competition and that can only be a good thing,” he said.