The Alex Hales affair: Street brawls, naked selfies and recreational drugs not part of ‘team culture’ says Eoin Morgan

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A Hales eye view of Eoin Morgan, post back-turning (via YouTube)

Eoin Morgan has the air of a man who isn’t going to tolerate any of your shit. You probably didn’t even know you had shit until you saw Morgan’s unsmiling face. Now you realise that you are awash with the stuff.

Morgan isn’t going to tolerate any of it. Not one bit. Not even the really minor inconsequential stuff. When it comes to your shit, Eoin Morgan is saying no. Particularly if you are Alex Hales.

As we correctly deduced yesterday, plenty of England players are completely fed up with Alex Hales and Morgan is definitely one of them.

ESPNCricinfo reports he has said there has been, “a complete breakdown of trust between the team and Alex.”

Without going into specifics, Morgan made it clear that this breakdown of trust came about because of all of Hales’ shit.

“We’ve been working extremely hard over the last 18 months to try and build that team culture and established values that we could adhere to,” he said. He added that, “as a group, culture is extremely important to us.”

Hales apparently “demonstrated a lack of respect” for this culture.

For some reason cricketers talk about ‘culture’ far more often than anyone else in the world. At the same time, they give details about what that culture comprises far less often than anyone else in the world.

This whole Alex Hales affair gives us a few clues though. It could be that the England one-day team considers any or all of the following to be unacceptable behaviour.

  • Kicking a bloke in the head when he’s lying on the floor
  • Lying to police
  • Getting yourself into a position where a naked selfie is being disseminated via social media
  • Cheating on your girlfriend
  • Taking recreational drugs when you’re supposed to be all serious about the World Cup

Eoin Morgan is the kind of guy who’d look at you in disgust for making a self-deprecating joke. Eoin Morgan is the kind of man who’d be pissed off at you for stacking his dishwasher because you’d have done it wrong.

We’d be highly surprised if Eoin Morgan’s personal threshold didn’t mean that he considered all of Alex Hales’ recent behaviour to be shit that he was unwilling to tolerate.


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  1. If nothing, surely this means that the ECB’s culture has actually got rather more permissive in recent years.

    In 2014, sackable offences included:

    Having a beer in Adelaide
    Looking out of windows
    Insufficient levels of interest

    Now, you really need to go hell of leather with street violence, getting stoned, and becoming tabloid fodder to even get their attention. It’s the permissive society’s fault.

    1. And windows are very much designed for looking out of too. That’s the correct way to use a window.

      1. Only if they’re used correctly. Otherwise you’re spending your afternoon looking at a pair of curtains.

  2. I’m sure Morgan would like to talk about how the dishwasher was stacked as a unit.

  3. A far greater crime is Ashley Giles’ mangling of the Queen’s English .

    “When the team was selected, myself and chief executive Tom Harrison were aware of a situation, but were bound by a duty of confidentiality.”

    The chief exec and I, Ashley. The chief exec and I.

    I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes when Eoin finds out.

  4. Those words didn’t look all that comfortable in Morgan’s mouth to me. Even though I completely buy that he is fed up with Hales’s behaviour (as are, perhaps, most of the players he’s played with) it all sounded a bit party line to me. His words or not though, Morgan has fallen a long way in my estimate – a judgement has been made and Hales should be allowed to try and get on with playing for Notts and picking up the pieces. There’s no need for this sort of virtue signalling ‘look at my lovely clean culture’ business. It’s only one headline from getting all grubby again Eoin.

  5. KC’s first two bullet points aside, the whole Hales thing is beginning to sound like old wine in new bottles. I’m sure Hales wasn’t flown with Junior Disprin but it makes one wonder whether Botham et al would have been demolished by the decisions that have to be made in conjunction with the fallout fron social media scrutiny, despite necessary bans due to substance abuse. I’d have thought that a more interesting debate is why Cameron Bancroft has been appointed captain of Durham, as his misdemeanours are within the game itself

    1. As a Durham fan, I find his self-moralising much less palatable than the actual tampering, for which he’s done his time. If the Durham lot are happy to have him here then surely that’s that.

      As for Hales, this feels like a particularly weighty straw on a rather overburdened camel.

  6. When teams start talking about culture and respect and values, they start sounding a little too Australian.

    Not saying that you shouldn’t be professional both on and off the field and all that, but talking about it in so many words is something I associate with Oz and their lines.

    He could have simply said something along the lines of “We are completely focussed on winning the World Cup, and do not want any distractions (read press/twitter noise) that might come about as a result of Hales continuing to be in the team. So we gave him the boot.”


    1. Yes, Morgan leaves me a bit cold in general. He feels like the CEO of a cricket team: good at man-managing and very ambitious, but at the same time toes the party line to a fault, is utterly ruthless when it comes to hiring and firing, and (of course) spouts buzzwords and platitudes like they’re going out of fashion.

      1. We’d agree, but this is modern England captaincy. That’s just the way they deal with the press nowadays. At least with Morgan there’s a clarity of approach underpinning it.

      2. I’m trying to surmise why it leaves me colder with Morgan than it did with Cook. I think it’s because Morgan feels like more of a natural at the job (both on the field and in press conferences), whereas Cook was given his lines to say and stumbled over them like a three-legged horse that’s found itself in the Grand National. That added awkwardness gave a bit more of an impression of a man who has to say such things, but doesn’t relish them.

        Maybe I’m being unfair, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eoin actually likes talking about England ‘as a unit’.

      3. That’s modern captaincy in general. Pretty sure Dhoni used to speak a lot at press conferences but he wasn’t actually saying anything.

  7. Do Ireland ruthlessly sledge their opponents? No, but they will Joshua Little.

      1. By all means. No royalties required. I’m sure whatever you do with it will be Stirling work!

  8. I was actually a bit disappointed that Morgan said “as a group” and not “- unit” in that quote above.

    Suspect he may need to reattend that four-day “Press Conferences for Captains” workshop the ECB probably made him do a few years back (the modern workplace being the bullshit-choked sewer that it is)…

  9. Actually, ‘group’ is very much the new ‘unit’.

    Unit Watch has become Unit Watch/Group Watch in Wisden Cricket Weekly.

  10. If they develop a unique group culture, will they eventually end up speaking a language nobody else understands, eat a completely different cuisine from the rest of us, bury their dead pets in unusual ways, etc?

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