Alex Hales was prevented from making his scheduled return to county cricket on Friday, with rain wiping out the Royal London One-Day Cup match between Notts Outlaws and Durham at Grantham.

The 30-year old had hoped to bring a turbulent week to a happier end when he was included in the Notts starting XI for the first time this year but persistent drizzle prevented any play.

Hales had been unavailable for the first four matches in the competition, with ‘personal reasons’ being cited as the reason, before revelations that he was serving a 21-day suspension for recreational drug use.

The powerful right-handed batsman was subsequently withdrawn from England’s squads for the internationals against Ireland and Pakistan, as well as this summer’s ICC World Cup.

Grantham, staging its first List A match since 2000, when Lincolnshire hosted Netherlands in the NatWest Trophy, was looking forward to welcoming Hales and his teammates but the weather deteriorated soon after Steven Mullaney, the home captain, had won the toss and opted to field.

Umpires Neil Bainton and Peter Hartley officially called the contest off at 3.40pm, with one point being awarded to both sides. The outcome means both still have work to do to guarantee their place in the knock-out stages.

Notts remain top of the North Group with 11 points, whilst Durham have nine; both with one match remaining.

Durham head coach James Franklin said: “We can’t control one aspect of our sport and the weather hasn’t played it’s part today.

“A lot of work has obviously gone in behind the scenes here, the first first-team match for Notts in Grantham, so it is disappointing that we couldn’t get out there.

“A point today probably neither helps not hinders, it still means we have to go to Headingley on Monday and get a positive result (against Yorkshire).”