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Should Alex Hales be Selected by England?

8 August 17 words: Gav Squires

Is it time to unleash a Hales storm?

Alex Hales in action for Notts in the One Day Cup final

While England were wrapping up victory in the fourth test against South Africa at Old Trafford, Alex Hales was keeping his ridiculous recent form going at Derbyshire to drop a well-timed reminder to the national team selectors. England may have won the test series 3-1 but it feels like there are still a number of positions where the team isn't completely settled. With the first test against the West Indies due to start on the 17th of August at Edgbaston, Tom Westley will probably get another chance at no. 3 in the batting line-up but Keaton Jennings as Alistair Cook's opening partner has probably run out of chances and Dawid Malan hasn't convinced at no. 5 in his two test matches.

 

Meanwhile Ales Hales has posted scores of 30*, 63, 101, 51, 7 and 95 in his last six T20 innings and that is on top of his unbelievable 187 not out in the final of the One Day Cup at Lords as Nottinghamshire returned home with the trophy. Now, there will be a lot of people who will say that this is just in white ball cricket but then today he scored 218 in a County Championship match, an innings that included 38 fours and a six.

 

Critics will point out that he needed a big score as he was only averaging 36.75 in the County Championship beforehand but, in mitigation, he'd only actually batted five times, mainly due to his involvement in the England one-day side in the ICC Champions Trophy. He last played for the England test team in 2016 and over 11 matches as an opener scored 573 runs at an average of 27.28, with a top score of 94 - not exactly world beating. His main problem was against the moving ball early on but this would be less of an issue if he batted at no. 5, which is where he has been playing for Notts in the County Championship. Also, the West Indies series is essentially an audition for the winter's Ashes tour to Australia, where Hales would fancy his chances on the harder wickets against the Kookaburra ball, which doesn't swing as much.

 

So, will England call up Hales? I'm not sure how balanced the side would look with him in it - Hales at 5, Stokes at 6, Bairstow at 7 and Ali at 8 is a line-up that if it fires is going to score a lot of runs very quickly and take games away from the opposition. However, those are four very attack-minded players and you can't really see them batting for a day to save a test match. Having said that, Malan is hardly a blocker and Hales is in much better from than him. Personally, I'd like to see him given a go after the month he's had - even if it doesn't work out, it will be exciting.

 

Nottinghamshire have two home T20 matches to go this season, on the 11th and the 18th of August. Subject to international call-up, Hales should be playing in both so get down to Trent Bridge to see him smite the ball to all parts.

 

Nottinghamshire County Cricket website

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