England in New Zealand 2012-13 February 3, 2013

Hales keen to continue England rise

ESPNcricinfo staff

England received positive news on Stuart Broad and Luke Wright, despite another curtailed practice session ahead of their first warm-up match on Monday. Wright had hurt his hand while fielding on Saturday, while Broad has been recovering from a heel injury that saw him miss England's limited-overs commitments in India, but both are expected to be fit for selection against a New Zealand XI in Whangerei.

Rain again cut short England's opportunity to train but Wright was able to bat, and Broad bowled outdoors for the second time on tour. Broad, England's T20 captain, has not played competitively since the second Test between England and India at Mumbai in November and has had his boots specially modified to try and cure the injury to his problematic heel.

England will play New Zealand in three T20s, starting on Saturday. While several members of the squad have been on ODI duty during January, the likes of Wright, Michael Lumb and Alex Hales played T20 in Australia's Big Bash League after helping England to a 1-1 T20 draw against India before Christmas. Hales, who scored 56 and 42 in India, further signposted his talent with a stunning 89 from 52 balls for Melbourne Renegades after being flown in as a last-minute replacement for the injured Marlon Samuels.

"I'd have to say it would be up there, as one of my highlights," Hales said. "I was glad to get that Big Bash opportunity - it was a little bit unexpected. I'd literally jumped straight off the plane, and genuinely don't remember too much about it. But it's a very strong competition, with very good overseas players, and something I'd definitely like to do again."

Hales subsequently pulled out of a proposed stint in the Bangladesh Premier League, where Wright turned out for Dhaka Gladiators, and he had been barred from entering the IPL auction by his county, Nottinghamshire. But he is not confining his goals to T20 and further displays of destructive hitting could help further his claims for an ODI debut, despite England's plethora of options at the top of the order.

"Any chance you get on the Big Bash or international stage means you can stake a claim to play at the top level," he said. "I'm pleased I did that then. But I've still got a long way to go, and a lot of ambition in the rest of cricket. I'm happy with how I'm playing at the moment, still working hard with the management here and the people back at Nottinghamshire. I'm not going to rest on my laurels at all, and I'm hoping to put up a couple of good performances against these Kiwis."

"Any opportunity in an England shirt is a time to put pressure on the guys [ahead of you].I didn't expect to go [to India]. The top order in the ODI side is incredibly strong, and something I'm going to have to work really hard to try to break into."

Alongside England's preparations for the T20 series, a couple of names in the New Zealand XI squad will provide the fixture with added interest. Ross Taylor is likely to return to New Zealand colours for the first time since he was removed from the captaincy and opted out of touring South Africa, while the former Australia wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, who has completed his qualification period, could take the next step on his journey towards resuming his international career with New Zealand.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • front on February 4, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    Sadly, as an England fan, and seeing our demise down the the rankings ladder in ODI cricket. It seems being on the rise in England, is like scaling the mast of a sinking ship. You can aim to keep you position, by clambering even further up, but there are limits and in the end, the great edifice of English cricket, will come crumbling down, with all hands lost at sea.

  • John on February 4, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    I like Hales' ambition but I don't see it happening with the current regime. They're reluctant to try him and Wright in the ODIs despite the pair being our best T20 performers recently. Good luck to them both though

  • paul on February 4, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    @RandyOZ Well he won't be playing for our test side anytime soon averaging 39, then again that average will get you a gig as a Test opener for the Ozzies, I kid you not ask Cowan. And if only he averaged 32 in List A he could open for the baggy green one day side like Warner does and has done for 38 internationals and what more he averages even less at that level.

  • A on February 4, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    Yeah RandyOz, cos Australia are overflowing with batsmen with great domestic records.

  • Varun on February 4, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    I know that NZ will not be able to field this XI due to a host of reasons, but anyway ... my ideal NZ Test XI: Guptill, B McCullum (C), Williamson, Taylor, Ryder, Brownlie, Ronchi (W), Vettori, Southee, Boult, Martin. 12th man: Bracewell/Franklin. Although the opening pair looks weak, considering Guptill's poor Test form and McCullum's struggle with consistency, the middle order looks stable with the talented Williamson, a young player who is temperamentally sound and really knows how to occupy the crease. Taylor is currently NZ's best batsman and Ryder is probably the most talented one. Having them bat at 4 and 5 gives them the opportunity to play their shots and build big innings. Brownlie slips in based on current form, Ronchi deserves a go, and Vettori and Martin lend experience to the bowling attack. Southee is the most dangerous seamer that NZ presently have and can genuinely swing the ball both ways. Boult adds useful incisiveness and left-arm variety to the seam bowling attack.

  • Richard on February 3, 2013, 23:47 GMT

    Funny that Randy, when he was destroying Aussie trundlers in the Big Bash he seemed a cut above the standard of that league!

    Funny thing is a FC average of 38 means he would probably walk straight into the Aussie test team at the moment! After all you boys called up Rob Quiney with an average of 35 the other month.

    Mind you that was because P Hughes (c Guptil b Martin) wasn't up to facing decent bowling!

  • Peter on February 3, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    First of all, Randy, forget averages in this format. His T20 career strike rate of 137 is among the top tier group. From what I saw of his efforts in the BBL, this guy deserves a run in any T20 side, & would be a contender in most one day sides if not all. Good luck to him.

  • j on February 3, 2013, 22:38 GMT

    Quality batsman is Hales, and far better than anything teams like australia have got. He's a big six hitter down the ground, and is just another champion England batting talent.

  • Tom on February 3, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    @RandyOZ, your going with that one, really? Shallow talent, how about Ed Cowan, a first class average of under 40 being used as a test match opener, or even Steve Smith and Glen Maxwell being anywhere near a test squad. If any country is short on talent it is certainly Australia.