Hales and Stokes were involved in the infamous brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017 that saw Stokes charged with affray – he denied the charge and was found not guilty – and both players handed backdated bans and fines by the Cricket Disciplinary Commission.
In his recently-released documentary, Phoenix from the Ashes, Stokes refers to “my friend at the time, Alex” when addressing the incident and did not answer questions about Hales during interviews about the film.
Stokes, who has been rested for England’s seven-match T20 international tour of Pakistan after a busy summer captaining the Test side, was tight-lipped when asked about his relationship with Hales and whether they had spoken recently earlier this month, saying only: “We’ve both got the same goal: to win World Cups.”
“They might not be best mates and that’s OK,” Mott said. “I’m sure you work with colleagues all the time who aren’t your best mate but you can work with them if you’ve got a common goal.
“Ben’s come out and stated that as well. He wants to win World Cups. I’m sure Alex does as well and we all do, so we try and pick the best players and if they end up becoming good mates again that’s great; if not, as long as they’re going towards that goal of winning the World Cup together then that’s how teams function.”
Hales himself did not specifically address his relationship with Stokes when speaking in Karachi on Friday but was keen to insist that he was “only looking to the future” rather than dwelling on the chain of events that led to his three-year exile from international cricket.
“I rang Trevor Bayliss around the time we were considering it and asked if he had any views,” Mott said. “Obviously he was coach at the time and has worked with him at Sydney Thunder. He said he’s had absolutely no problem with him at all, he’s made mistakes but he’s trying to get better.
“For me, that’s it. Nobody’s perfect – I’m certainly not – but if he’s trying to get better and he’s the best player, then we can work around it.
“Like Jos said, we asked the senior players whether they had an issue. It was well before my time, so one of the things I said was ‘mate, you start with a blank canvas’. He’s been contrite and has shown he’s trying to learn from his experiences.”
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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