Alex Hales says the fall-out from a fight outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017 has been a “lesson learned the incredibly hard way”.
The England limited-overs batsman, 30, did not face any criminal charges, while team-mate Ben Stokes was cleared of affray at a trial.
Hales was laterfined and bannedby the Cricket Disciplinary Commission (CDC) for his part and social media posts.
“It takes 10 seconds to get an image and 10 years to undo it,” said Hales.
In an interview withthe Guardian,the Nottinghamshire opener added: “It just shows, something can escalate from nowhere.
“It was also an eye-opener to how much we are in the public eye as England cricketers. You have to mature and put yourself in the right situations, not be out at 2.30am in the middle of a series. It’s a lesson learned the incredibly hard way.”
He added: “Sometimes I make mediocre decisions – I always have – but I don’t want to make them any more. I’m 30 now, not 20, and I’ll be doing whatever I can for the rest of my career to change perceptions.”
Hales is a one-day and T20 specialist, who last played Test cricket in August 2016.
Following the Bristol incident, which occurred during a one-day series against the West Indies, he was dropped by England.
But he was cleared to return to the international set-up by the England and Wales Cricket Board in December 2017 and played in their recent drawn one-day series in the West Indies.
In February 2018, Hales, who has played 70 ODIs and 60 T20 internationals, signed a new deal with Nottinghamshire to play only limited-overs matches until the end of the 2019 season.
In December 2018, Hales was fined £17,500 and banned for six white-ball matches – of which £10,000 and four games were suspended – by the CDC.
The CDC operates at arm’s length from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and is responsible for all aspects of cricket discipline covered by ECB rules.
As well as the September 2017 incident in Bristol, Hales was charged in relation to “inappropriate images”.
“I won’t lie, there have been days when it has gnawed away at me,” said Hales. “The fines and everything were a dent but the biggest thing was losing my spot.
“The day I found out I wasn’t playing [the final two ODIs against West Indies in 2017] I knew Jason [Roy] would come in and score big runs. He’s too good a player. And Jonny [Bairstow] was in the best form of his life. I saw it coming and it unfolded in slow motion.”
He is now aiming to play at his home Cricket World Cup from 30 May to 14 July in England and Wales.
“The last year and a half, there have been ups and hell of a lot of downs,” he said. “All I will be focusing on is cricket. It’s the biggest year in English cricket history. I will be doing everything I can to be the best I can. It’s been so special being in this England team and when you lose your spot you realise it.
“I think there are only a handful of players who can be truly world class at all three formats and having played all three, I’m not one of them. But I think I can be in white-ball [cricket].”