England news May 18, 2014

Frustrated Hales wants to shake T20 tag


Alex Hales has admitted his frustrations at the disjointed start to his season that has seen him bat in three positions for two counties while being unable to force his way into England's one-day side.

Hales will have a day back in the spotlight on Tuesday when he faces Sri Lanka, the team he scored an unbeaten 116 against in the World T20 - England's first hundred in the format - but believes it is unfair if he is already considered purely a T20 cricketer. He would have had a chance in the ODI side on the West Indies tour if he had not suffered a late injury.

With England looking to form a side for the World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand, Hales was a contender to shake up the top order for the forthcoming series against Sri Lanka but the selectors, including new coach Peter Moores, instead went for recalling Michael Carberry alongside the current opening pair of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell.

There remain concerns about Hales' technique for the longer one-day game, although his List A average of 33.26 alongside a strike-rate of 99 is far from poor, but England's limited-overs squads were picked without any domestic white-ball form to assess at the start of the season.

It appears Hales is still suffering for his dire 2013 first-class season, where he averaged just 13.94, and the belief from the England management is that opening in one-day cricket requires the skills to see off the moving ball.

When asked if he thought it was too early for him to be ring-fenced as a T20 player, Hales said: "A little bit, yes, and I think it's a little bit harsh. Up until last year, when I had a shocker with the red ball, I'd averaged 40 opening at Trent Bridge which is not a bad record at all.

"I'm keen to learn from last year and move on, I think it's too early to be pigeon-holed as a T20 player. I am working hard on other aspects of the game. I feel if they gave me a chance this summer I'd be ready for it. I've seen a lot of Sri Lanka and seen a bit of India and feel I'd be ready if the chance came along."

It has not been the ideal start to the season for Hales as he looks for some stability in his cricket. He has already been out on loan to Worcestershire, having lost his place in Nottinghamshire's Championship side after one game (where he scored a half-century), before being recalled by his home club and has batted in a variety of positions.

"The stuff so far has all been red-ball cricket and it has been a little of everything for me - batting at No. 6, then off on loan to Worcester batting at No. 4, then opening last week. So I haven't really had chance to knuckle down with the red-ball stuff. That's been the story of the season so far, dealing with that frustration."

Hales, therefore, has one chance, in the short-term at least, at international level when he resumes battles with the Sri Lankans at The Oval less than two months after taking them for a breathtaking hundred in Chittagong. Then it will be back to the domestic game as he aims to push his claims for the World Cup place.

"In England you do get some seam movement, so you do need some form of solid technique opening up, but with the World Cup being in Australia on pretty flat pitches if I score my runs for Nottinghamshire I think that will be pivotal when it comes to selection in the winter."

It remains to be seen who partners Hales at the top of the order in T20, following the axing of Michael Lumb. Carberry would be a like-for-like replacement in terms of power but Bell is also in the squad, although has not played a T20 since 2011. Moeen Ali could be another option depending on how England want to balance their side.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on May 19, 2014, 22:01 GMT

    @Thiyanan Jeganathan I do tend to agree with that. Back in the 1990s Mark Ramprakash, Robin Smith and Graeme Hick were not given enough chances. Also the same could be said for much of the 1980s although to be fair in the 1980s they were up against very good sides like WI, Pakistan, NZ and India during that decade. The 1970s and before that was probably the last decade that England generally got it right and made sure talented cricketers were regulars. @front foot lunge I disagree that Sri Lanka are weak opposition. The coming limited overs games may be extremely tough for England. Also Sri Lanka hate losing at Lord's they always make England look average there.They could well win the Lord's test. Sri Lanka are a very good and talented cricket side,not weak opposition. They bring an aussie attitude when they tour England. IE they absolutely hate losing to England in England. This means its going to be very tough I feel for Eng to beat SL.That said England do have home ground advantage.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 20:38 GMT

    Forget about test match technique,red ball moving etc.. Havent u noticed the world cup is being played in aus & Nz where pitches are flat as hell.. The McCullums, Maxwells, Pollards,Smith, K.Perrera's , Corey anderson, Kohli will give the ball a serious hammering.. So Alex is a must for England's sake or for that matter a hard hitter like Lumb too.. Hales will thrive on these pitches once he sees off the 1st 4 overs.. If everyone picked team on the basis of so called correct Batsman Then God help u because u will hardly win 2 matches out of 10 .. Its true what Thiyanan Jeganathan posted above we would have never witnessed odi legends like Sanath, Viru, Gayle had they been from England

  • Android on May 19, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    england always reminds me of the student who puts a lot of effort, does all the past papers and still cmes vry average in the exam. no doubt..engalnd has got a lot of talent. but its the administration who puts the country down. england hardly allows natural talent to play at the highest level. sanath,shewag,gayle,murali,ajmal,malinga,narine all these players wuldnt have played international if they were british citizens.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    The article says; "He would have had a chance in the ODI side on the West Indies tour if he had not suffered a late injury." Yes, but that ODI side was essentially the T20 side that was the priority for the short WI tour. Cook and others did not go, giving some others a chance to play ODI - but the clear assumption was that the regular opening combo would be back in the team come the Summer.

  • front on May 19, 2014, 15:47 GMT

    As an England fan, its easy to see how on the surface a striker like Hales deserves his place and the English management once again, fails to see what fans see, and repeated leave him out.

    The simple face is that Hale's isn't that good. He had a good to middling T20 world cup, but when it mattered, against South Africa, he gave his wicket away to Parnell that started the rot that lead to our defeat. He's simply a slogger and despite how we in England have historically to talked up our chances during our very brief purple patch, we are in for a long summer of average performances, only masked by the fact that we are playing weak opposition. It is a long hard and cold winter for English cricket.

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 13:22 GMT

    this guy should play all T20 and ODI for England. How can you not play someone who has played in australia and has performed good in the shoter version. ECB once again failed. I think if Hales play, Cook will loose his opening position n will hv to loose his captaincy...

  • Android on May 19, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    england need alex .england dnt have batsman like kp ,trott .alex is a match winner.if he made it to odi ,great for eng

  • Jon on May 19, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    Awesome start to new regime.

    One top rated opener who can exploit field restrictions versus international bowlers so lets leave him out.

    So tired of English "professionalism" where its lets go a 4 an over and keep wickets for last 10 overs charge. Its like the last 25 years of international cricket hav'nt happened.

  • John on May 18, 2014, 19:55 GMT

    "the belief from the England management is that opening in one-day cricket requires the skills to see off the moving ball." Viru et al. would disagree. Also the WC is in Aus/NZ, forget about the moving ball and focus on tonking it.

  • Nicholas on May 18, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    It's because you haven't taken enough wickets in County games Alex. Haven't you understood the ECB's new selection policy? Bowlers must be able to bat; batsmen must be able to bowl. Not sure about fielding yet, but I think the ECB have sent a request to the ICC asking if all fielders can wear gloves (or at the very least carry a bucket) to try and eliminate the unfair advantage the wicket keeper has.

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