London, April 26: England's World Cup contender Alex Hales has been reportedly banned for 21 days for failing a drug test. Although the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has remained tight-lipped to the revelation.
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 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 tests, 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.
Meanwhile, the ECB has declined to comment on the reports of Hales serving a suspension for recreational drug use.
Asked by Omnisport about Hales' situation, the ECB said in a statement: "We have a duty of confidentiality, therefore we are unable to provide any further comment."
The speculation comes as England begin preparations for this year's Cricket World Cup on home soil, with Hales included in a preliminary 15-man squad for the tournament.
(With inputs from agencies)