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January 30, 2014
England batsman Alex Hales has highlighted the importance of bringing the side's T20 squad together as they build towards the World T20.
England have five more T20s scheduled before the World T20 begins in Bangladesh on March 16 and Hales feels the time together is essential ahead of a global tournament.
"A lot of Twenty20 is based around momentum," Hales said. "These two games coming up are huge for us heading into Barbados where we are playing against a very strong West Indies side who are the current World Cup holders for Twenty20.
"We have a lot of tough cricket coming up which should stand us in good stead for what is going to be a good World Cup campaign."
Hales has joined a squad that has changed significantly since England's tour of Australia began in October. But now, with England set to take a primarily 20-over squad to the West Indies which includes three ODIs, the squad has time to settle.
"That's great for us," Hales said. "Usually we only get one or two weeks together. Play, travel, play and then we are off on our separate ways. It's a good period of time for us to come together as a squad. We have some good cricket coming up, heading off to Barbados and then hopefully a successful World Cup campaign in what I think is a very strong squad."
England arrive at the MCG for the second T20 needing victory to keep the series alive. Hales is confident they can deliver after a display in Hobart that, despite defeat, had enough bright points to offer encouragement for the future and feels his own game is in good shape having played in the Big Bash League.
"I think the confidence in this group is very high," Hales said. "The last seven or eight games we've scored around 200 runs each time so we have a lot of confidence.
"I've been out here a couple of months now so I am pretty used to conditions. I've spent a few winters over here before in the past so I'm pretty familiar with how the wickets play over here. I'm looking forward to turning this series around and hopefully winning 2-1.
"It's a huge game; any international game of cricket is particularly playing at the MCG in front of what is going to be a huge crowd. It's a must-win game for this series."
Hales has an important two months to come with the IPL auction approaching - which he is "trying not to think about" - followed by the West Indies tour which could provide a route into the longer form.
"The West Indies is going to be a great opportunity for me to show that I can play in the longer form and not just 20 overs. It's also a good opportunity for others like Lumb and Wright. I definitely feel if I got the chance I could do a job there. It's going to be tough to get into that team because it is a good side."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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