Opener Alex Hales has been dropped from England’s provisional 15-man squad for the upcoming World Cup, shortly after being handed a 21-day ban over the use of recreational drugs.

According to a statement issued by the England Cricket Board, the decision was taken “having considered what is in the best interests of the England team” and the Nottinghamshire batsman will not travel to Ireland for a one-off ODI this Friday. His name has also been omitted from the five-match ODI series and a lone T20 game against Pakistan that precedes the showpiece event.

“We have thought long and hard about this decision. We have worked hard to create the right environment around the England team and need to consider what is in the best interests of the team, to ensure they are free from any distractions and able to focus on being successful on the pitch,” Ashley Giles, ECB Managing Director said.

“I want to make it clear this is not the end of Alex’s career as an England player. The ECB and the PCA will continue to aid Alex and work alongside his county club Nottinghamshire to give him the support he needs, to help him fulfill his potential as a professional cricketer,” he added.

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Hales, who is currently serving a three-week ban, earlier pulled out of Nottinghamshire’s Royal London Cup campaign, just days after England’s World Cup squad was announced.

Media reports from England previously reported that the drug violation was detected after he underwent a hair-follicle test, mandatory for all professional men and women cricketers before start and finish of every season.

Earlier in December, Hales was earlier handed a six-match ban and a fine by the ECB for being involved in a nightclub brawl alongside Ben Stokes.