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Hales keen to 'free the arms' after Test disappointment

England batsman Alex Hales hopes that a return to white-ball cricket will have a rejuvenating effect on his game, as it did following a tough Test debut in South Africa at the start of the year.

Hales is one of a number of England players cleared to play in NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day, with his county, Nottinghamshire, contesting the first semi-final against Northamptonshire. Hales said it would be nice to "free the arms" again after four Tests against Pakistan in which he averaged 18.12 with one fifty.

Those numbers are remarkably similar to his first experience of Test cricket, when he averaged 17.00 with a high score of 60 over four appearances against South Africa. He followed that up by scoring 383 runs in five ODI innings - his breakthrough 50-over series for England - and is keen to mount a similar comeback, initially in T20 for Notts and then in the Pakistan ODIs.

"It's going to be nice come back to what is a big day for the club and be able to free the arms," he told ESPNcricinfo ahead of Finals Day at Edgbaston. "The last couple of training sessions have been nice to hit a white ball and put the disappointment of the Test series behind me.

"It's a big day for the club but it's also nice, when you have a tough time, to step out of the international arena and come back to a county you love.

"It's a similar situation to South Africa, I had a really poor Test series and then bounced back pretty well in the 50-over stuff. So it's a situation I'm pretty familiar with, I know I've been in it before and dealt with it well, so hopefully I can find some form in what's going to be an exciting ODI series."

Hales made strides in his second Test engagement, with scores of 86, 83 and 94 in five innings against Sri Lanka, but was then given a working over by Pakistan's seam attack. His place in the Test side for tours of Bangladesh and India will therefore be up for debate but could be bolstered by heavy one-day scoring.

Stuart Broad has also been made available for Notts on Finals Day, while Yorkshire have Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance back from England duty and Durham include Ben Stokes and Mark Wood in their ranks, but Hales was refusing to take Northamptonshire - the only side to have previously won the tournament - lightly.

"All four teams are strong on paper… If you look down through Northants batting line-up, it's incredibly dangerous," he said. "I guess that's the beauty of Finals Day, whichever team turns up has a chance of winning it."

Lining up against Nottinghamshire will be one of the most in-form limited-overs batsmen in the county game. Last month, Ben Duckett scored 448 runs at an average of 224.00 during England Lions' tri-series with Pakistan A and Sri Lanka A and he also led the T20 scoring for Northamptonshire as the 2013 champions qualified for a third Finals Day in four years.

Duckett has been tipped for a place in England's white-ball teams and, although he missed out on selection for the Pakistan series, he has been encouraged to keep pushing for a place after speaking to the national selector, James Whitaker. He also said he believes he can fulfil his ambitions of playing for England while at Northamptonshire.

"The reason I got picked for the Lions was the form I've had for Northants," he told ESPNcricinfo. "People look at us as a small side but we do it every year… as a one-day side, we're very strong. The way you get seen for England is playing on the big stage like this, moving to another club they might not get to Finals Days and we've had three in four years. So for me personally, in one-day cricket, I'm at a great county.

"I've spoken to selectors, before and during the Lions, just trying to score runs. The one-day side at the moment is unbelievable for England, and they have been for the last 12 months, which is why it's going to be so difficult to get into that side. But I saw James Whitaker yesterday and he said, keep doing what you're doing, try and score runs and there might be a chance in the winter.

"If you get a match-winning score on a big stage like this, it's going to be noticed and that can only be good."