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August 20, 2014
Alex Hales who earned a call-up to the England ODI side on Monday, has said that he is grateful he was not picked for IPL 2014, allowing him time to improve his four-day game. Hales was one of the English players passed over by franchises during the auction in February 2014.
Hales, who is a regular in England's T20 side, had made a strong case for an ODI spot with three List-A hundreds in the last three weeks, including a 96-ball 141 for Nottinghamshire against Middlesex. He had been a part of England's ODI squad to the West Indies earlier in the year but missed out on a debut after suffering a thigh injury. Hales also succeeded in carrying his rich one-day form into first-class cricket, with an unbeaten 102 against Northamptonshire last week.
"Had I got picked up in the IPL who knows whether we would have been having this conversation now," Hales told the Daily Telegraph. "I am almost glad that the door shut on me in the IPL and it has given me the chance to work hard on my four-day game. Had I gone to India it would have all been T20 and whacking the ball rather than technique and building and compiling innings."
Hales is expected to open the innings along with Alastair Cook and a strong showing could only help build his case for a top-order spot in Tests, especially after Sam Robson's struggles in the recent Tests against India. His success in the first-class games has also helped prove that his technique may not be an issue. In nine Division One games this season, Hales has scored 848 runs at an average of 56.53 with three hundreds and three fifties.
"Test cricket is definitely still my ambition. I'm still only 25 so I have just about got time on my side," Hales said. "From what I have learnt last year and the steps I have made, if I continue with those improvements then who knows?
"After the Big Bash I had a lot of time away to think about four-day cricket and discover that hunger for runs again and building an innings and working hard on my technique. I'm really happy that I have reaped the rewards this year."
Hales brushed aside any doubts over his readiness for the one-day stage. The batsman has played 32 T20Is for England since his debut against India in August 2011 and said the experience had helped him get accustomed to the international stage.
"I have played 30-odd games of international T20 and that comes with a lot of pressure, so I don't think the big stage will be anything too new," Hales said. "It's just whether my technique and temperament are ready for the step up, but I feel I have shown in the last few weeks that they are."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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