Ever since Twitter rolled out their subscription-based model Twitter Blue and took away the legacy blue ticks from the verified handles, confusion regarding the authenticity of a handle is nothing new.
There are still many public figures without a verified badge. England cricketer Alex Hales is one of them. And moments after he announced his retirement from international cricket on Friday, another fake account using the same display picture as he sparked a war of words between India and Pakistan cricket fans.
The fake account which goes by the handle @rixzz177 took a swipe at India by referring to England’s 10-wicket victory in a pretentious retirement announcement post.
“After an incredible journey on the pitch, it’s time to bid farewell to this chapter of my life. Grateful for the memories, the camaraderie, and the love of the game. Thank you all for your unwavering support! 170-0 is still one of the most memorable innings of my career,” he wrote.
The last line of the tweet irked the Indian fans and the Pakistan fans too jumped into the argument.
Hales, who is not that active on Twitter, announced his retirement on Instagram. The powerful top-order player represented England in 156 matches across all three international formats — Tests, one-day internationals and T20 internationals.
The 34-year-old’s last international appearance came in England’s T20 World Cup final win against Pakistan in November 2022.
Hales, a white-ball specialist, scored 2,419 runs in 67 ODI innings at an average of nearly 38 and 2,074 runs in 75 T20 internationals at just under 31.
But his England career was interrupted by off-field events.
He was fined and suspended following a 2017 incident outside a Bristol nightclub also involving Ben Stokes.
Hales was banned again in 2019 after testing positive for a recreational drug, costing him a place in England’s victorious squad for that year’s 50-over World Cup.
“It has been an absolute privilege to have represented my country on 156 occasions across all three formats,” Hales said in an Instagram post.
“I’ve made some memories and some friendships to last a lifetime and I feel that now is the right time to move on.”
He added: “Throughout my time in an England shirt I’ve experienced some of the highest highs as well as some of the lowest lows. It’s been an incredible journey and I feel very content that my last game for England was winning a World Cup final.”
Hales will continue to play for his county side, Nottinghamshire, and franchise cricket around the world.