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Alex Hales: Ex-England batter apologises for ‘incredibly disrespectful’ black make-up photo

Former England batter Alex Hales has apologised for “all the offence” he has caused after a photo showing him wearing black make-up was published.

Hales said he was paying tribute to late rapper Tupac Shakur at a 2009 New Year’s Eve party.

In a statement on Instagram, the 32-year-old added he now realises this was “incredibly disrespectful”.

It comes days after Hales denied any racist connotation in naming his dog, after allegations by Azeem Rafiq.

Of the photo, published in the Sun, he said: “The theme was musicians and Tupac is, was and always will be my favourite musician, so I went as him.

“I obviously realise that this is incredibly disrespectful and I want to apologise for all the offence this has no doubt caused.

“It was incredibly reckless and foolish on my behalf, so I want to apologise for that, apologise to the club for the embarrassment it would have caused them.

“I guess my twenties was full of mistakes like that, reckless mistakes off the field that cost me, let down family, let down team-mates, let down friends, close relationships I had during my twenties.

“Some of those decisions I’ll regret for the rest of my life, and the last few years being away from the spotlight a little bit has given me a chance to try and better myself as a human, keep getting better at cricket, but getting better off the field as well.

“It’s something I feel like I’ve done, and I’m continuing to strive to do.”

Hales’ club, Nottinghamshire, said it had “extended the scope” of its investigation into his behaviour following the publication of the photo.

It had “commenced the appropriate internal process” following Rafiq’s testimony about Hales.

In a statement, the club added: “Alex will be subject to the club’s established disciplinary process and has indicated his willingness to participate in the investigation.”

An England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokesperson said: “We strongly condemn any form of discrimination.

“We have procedures in place to address conduct and allegations of this nature and we will investigate accordingly. We want cricket to be an inclusive, welcoming game for everyone.”

On Tuesday, ex-Yorkshire player Rafiq told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that former team-mate Gary Ballance used the name ‘Kevin’ as a “derogatory” term to refer to any player of colour.

Rafiq said that Hales named his dog Kevin “because it’s black”, an allegation Hales “categorically and absolutely” denied.

In his statement on Friday, Hales added: “With regards to the allegations about the dog, it’s an ongoing investigation at the club, so I can’t go into detail with that, but I want to reiterate what I said in my statement the other day.

“Finally, I deplore all forms of racism and discrimination. I’ve been incredibly lucky to play around the world in different backgrounds, with players of different races, different cultures, and I’m incredibly fortunate to do so and I think it’s great that our game is so diverse and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

The ECB is holding a game-wide meeting at the Oval on Friday, in which its handling of the ongoing racism crisis in the sport is likely to attract criticism.

On Thursday, Rafiq – who has spoken of his experiences of racism at Yorkshire – apologised and said he is “deeply ashamed” for using anti-Semitic language in Facebook messages from 2011.

The 30-year-old said he had “absolutely no excuses” for the messages.