England in West Indies 2016-17 March 7, 2017

Hales in line for Barbados return

Alex Hales injured his hand during England's one-day series in India © AFP

Alex Hales has been added to the England squad and looks set to return to the side for the final ODI against West Indies. Hales, who was not selected originally due to a hand injury sustained during the series in India, joined the tour party to continue his rehab in Antigua.

He has now been officially added to the squad, which means he will come into contention for Thursday's match in Barbados. England lead the three-match series 2-0.

"Hales has now been passed fit by the medics and he's practised well over the last few days," Paul Farbrace, England's assistant coach, told the BBC. "So he's officially in the squad now for Thursday's game, which is good news.

"We always knew that Hales would join us. Even if he wasn't available to play, we were always going to bring him here so we had him as part of the group."

Hales' availability is not good news for Sam Billings. While Billings made a half-century in the first ODI - his second half-century in three ODI innings at that stage - he was unable to convert his start into the formidable contribution that might have kept Hales out of the side. Billings was out first ball in the second ODI.

There is little doubt that Hales remains England's first choice opening partner for Jason Roy. He made 171 against Pakistan in August - England's highest individual ODI score and his fourth century within 12 months.

Jake Ball may also come back into contention for the final game. Ball injured his knee during the warm-up games in St Kitts and was not considered for selection for the first two ODIs. He will train on Wednesday, although it may well be that Steven Finn retains his place.

The England squad, many of whom have their families with them now, enjoyed a rest day in Barbados on Tuesday.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. He will be covering England's tour of the Caribbean in association with Smile Group Travel, specialists in hosted supporters' packages.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on March 8, 2017, 14:36 GMT

    Buttler's recent record is appalling. His last 8 innings total 58 runs, with a top score of 15. How does he keep his place? You hear pundits say he's going to be a superstar. He's not even a star yet. Feel sorry for the likes of Billings and Bairstow.

  • ScottMcNair on March 7, 2017, 20:23 GMT

    As much as I like billings, hes not an opener for me, Hales was looking like he had really begun to understand ODIs and will surely be a key player if england are to win the champions trophy

  • bruvvereccles94 on March 7, 2017, 18:39 GMT

    Now that the series is won. there's a strong case for playing Bairstow rather than the out of form Buttler as WK. Of course Bairstow has a right to be selected on his batting alone...

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