A dominant reason behind England’s supreme rise as an ODI powerhouse has been due to the heroics of Alex Hales right at the top of the order. The destructive right-hander has already piled up some fascinating numbers while opening alongside Jason Roy. Last year against Pakistan at Nottingham, Hales became England’s highest individual scorer as the side amassed 444, in what was another ODI record.
The call to skip the tour of Bangladesh was a tough one, as Hales cited security concerns and didn’t tour the nation. It raised a few eyebrows but Hales was selected for the tour of India, where after just two games he was injured and sent back home.
The opener is now all set for a comeback and could feature in the third ODI against the West Indies. The England management has been in full supportive of Hales, and cite him as their opener for the upcoming Champions Trophy at home.
“As a bloke, not going to Bangladesh has given him a lot of time to think where he wants to be,” England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace said.
“I don’t want to use the word mature necessarily, but I think he has learned a lot from not going to Bangladesh. I think we saw a very different Alex Hales in India and again here we see him every morning in the gym at 6am, working extremely hard, practicing well and trying to get himself into the best place he can be.
“I don’t think it was ever a case of doubting his professionalism. I just think that sometimes when you are out of the team you realize what you are missing and want it even more. That is something he is showing in abundance.
“We see him as our opening batsman, with Jason Roy, in the Champions Trophy.
“I don’t think that will be a surprise to anybody. Having got him back into the squad it would suggest that he has a very good chance of playing on Thursday,” he added.
Farbrace added there is a chance for Hales to return to the Test side, but not at his usual opening position.
“He’s said he’s going to bat four for Notts in the Championship this year,” Farbrace said.
“And he sees himself getting back into the Test side in the middle order, rather than the top order. Once you go to No. 4 in county cricket you’re pretty much saying you’re not expecting to be playing in the top three for England in Test cricket.”
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