A new cricket season for Notts and a hugely important year for their twenty-three year-old batsman Alex Hales. He’s already made his mark in the first team, played Twenty20 for England and spent last winter in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with the England Lions – essentially the national reserves team. Is he the future of the Outlaws and the national side?
We heard that you once hit a ludicrous score off an over. What’s the story?
It was actually 50-odd. In one over. It was at Lord’s Nursery Ground. The bowler bowled three no-balls and there were eight sixes and a four. I was about fifteen or sixteen. It was a London County Cricket Club founder’s day tournament – a Twenty20 competition. We actually needed 77 off two overs and ended up getting them. It was quite a good day.
Is that what caught the attention of Notts?
No, I got lucky, really. A mate of my Dad was good friends with Jason Gallian who was the ex-captain here, and he managed to get me a trial with the Second XI when I was eighteen. And that was how I ended up here.
Did you support another county when you were younger?
Erm, not really. I’m probably a Middlesex lad at heart. I grew up round that area so if I had to
pick one it’d be them.
Was there anything specific about Notts that appealed to you compared to the other counties? Did it seem like a big club?
Yeah, it did. They were actually the first team to ask me to trial for them, so when you don’t have a county you take any offers you can get. But the ground here is fantastic and they’re a great bunch of guys.
Who took you under their wing when you first arrived and made you feel comfortable in the dressing room, showed you the city...?
I’d say probably Luke Fletcher. We both signed at the same time and have sort of been knocking around together ever since. Everyone’s been good. Paul Franks. Stuart Broad signed at the same time as me. We all get along as well.
Who best captures the team’s mood in the Notts dressing room - who’s the emotional barometer?
I’d have to say Paul Franks. He’s probably the loudest one. Everyone knows about it when he’s around.
Last year you scored your personal best against Somerset and were awarded your county cap in front of the Trent Bridge pavilion. Was that your career highlight so far?
It’d be up there, but I’d probably say the highlight so far was my England debut. But a county cap’s a very special thing; I put in a lot of hard work over the years at Notts and that’s a good reward for it.
Did you feel different, once you’d got the cap on?
A little bit, yeah [chuckles]. Probably just a bit mentally different. It’s obviously a great thing to be awarded a cap and I’m wearing it with a lot of pride.
After a strong campaign for Notts, you also forced your way into the England T20 side. Was that a surprise?
You’re obviously going to be a bit surprised before your debut comes along because you never really expect to get in, but once I got in there I was really buzzing for it. I only found out
the day before the squad was announced, so I was obviously very excited. I’ve now played four in total. I want to try and get myself back into that team. I missed the last few games in
What went through your mind as you were walking out to bat?
My plan was to get off the mark, but unfortunately that didn’t happen on my debut. I ended up getting nought. But, psychologically, I was just trying to treat it like any normal Notts game.
International aims for 2012?
Competition for places in in England set-up is brutal right now, with Jos Buttler, Johnny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and others coming through. Well, obviously I want to try and get back in the England Twenty20 team or the England team in any form of the game. It was a very big thing for me.
You once wrote on Facebook that you were “the worst league batsman in the country.” Is that still true?
Without a shadow of a doubt! I’m one of the worst league batsmen in the country. I’ve got an appalling record. I don’t know why that is but I recommend that any clubs in Nottingham don’t get in touch with me.
What are your aims for 2012 with Notts?
I want to try and better what I did last year and get even more runs.
What’s the most important trophy to win next year?
County Championship. The four-day stuff.
Winning the Twenty20 would mean qualification for the T20 Champions League in India, putting you in the shop window for the Indian Premier League. Is that something that appeals?
Yeah. I think any young player would want to try and get in the IPL. It’s a tournament full of all the best players in the world, so that’s definitely an aim. But Notts take every form of the game very seriously and we’ll be trying hard in all forms.
Notts County Cricket Club website
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Michael Pinchbeck is a writer, live artist, performance-maker, and one half of the creative team behind Hatch. His latest project is The Ashes, the story of the infamous ‘Bodyline’ England cricket tour to Australia in 1932-33 that left the game’s reputation tarnished. On the verge of its debut performance at the Playhouse, we aimed a few questions at him - which he batted away with consummate ease…