Joe Root, Alex Hales, Jofra Archer, England, ICC World Cup 2019, Ashes, Root Hales, World Cup, England
Hales was dropped from England’s World Cup squad after reports emerged that he tested positive for recreational drugs. @ Getty Images

Test captain Joe Root admitted Alex Hales’ sudden omission from England’s ICC World Cup 2019 squad has unified the team. The flamboyant opener, who was named in the hosts’ preliminary World Cup squad despite serving a 21-day suspension following an “on-field incident” was dropped after reports emerged that he tested positive for recreational drugs.

A senior players’ meeting was immediately called and it was decided that Hales be dropped from the squad after captain Eoin Morgan described his actions as a “complete breakdown in trust”.

“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 was quoted as saying in BBC Sport on Thursday.

Asked if the Nottinghamshire right-hander Hales’ exclusion has had a unifying effect on the England squad, Root added: “Yes, absolutely.” (ALSO READ: Alex Hales showed lack of respect for the England team’s values: Eoin Morgan)

England will be finalising their World Cup squad at the end of the ongoing series against Pakistan. Barbados-born pacer Jofra Archer can still force his way back to the squad after showing glimpses with hostility in the little play that was possible before Wednesday’s first match of the ODI series was rained off.

“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.”

Quizzed if Archer’s inclusion has created any rifts in the side, Root explained: “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.” (ALSO READ: ‘Will be absolutely staggered if Archer not included in England’s World Cup and Ashes squad’)

Archer’s exceptional bowling has seen many former England players including captain Michael Vaughan demand his inclusion in the Ashes 2019 squad as well. However, Root strayed away from elaborating on England’s Ashes plans.

“When you watch him play and train, you are always looking towards the Ashes,” he said.

“There’s a huge of amount of cricket and chances for him, along with a lot of other guys. The selectors will make sure they weigh everything up carefully and cleverly. They will pick a squad of players that is performing well and are fit and ready to go.”