Alex Hales, on the back of a match-winning showing, asserted that he sees every tournament as an opportunity to remind people of his quality, and insisted that for 2 years, he’s shown that he’s an international quality player. Hales further compared The Hundred’s intensity to international cricket.
After being banished from the English national side weeks before the 2019 World Cup, for failing a drug test, Alex Hales, despite being frozen out of the national picture, continued to dominate franchise leagues across the world. But ‘The Hundred’ was being described by many as the opener’s best chance to earn a national recall, due to it being ECB’s brainchild. And on Monday in Nottingham, Hales left his mark in the competition as from 41/5, the experienced campaigner held his composure and batted through the innings to take his side, Trent Rockets, home.
It was an innings filled with class and composure, not too dissimilar to many a knock he’s played across the world in the past two years, be it in the BBL, PSL or the Vitality Blast. Speaking on the back of the match-winning 40*, Hales asserted that he sees every tournament as an opportunity to remind people of his quality, and insisted that he’s been doing so for two years straight.
"Every tournament I play is always a chance for me to keep reminding people I'm still an international quality player," Hales said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
"I think the last two years I've done that. Every tournament I've gone to, I've performed well and shown people that I'm still that level of a cricketer, so that's all I can keep doing.”
Hales usually is a quick-starter in T20 cricket, but his knock on Tuesday was uncharacteristic in many ways, for he bided his time and focused on staying put till the very end. The right-hander, at one stage, had scored just 16 off 25 balls, but he focused on taking the chase deep and preserving his wicket, not opting to take risks. Explaining his approach, Hales revealed that, on a sluggish Trent Bridge wicket, he focused on just not throwing his wicket away.
"I always felt that if I was in at the end, we'd have a chance. It was a fairly difficult pitch to bat on, not your typical Trent Bridge pitch, but you can always catch up at the end there, with the fast-scoring outfield and smallish boundaries. I just tried to hang in there and take it as deep as I could.”
The 32-year-old claimed that his uncharacteristically slow start was down to a combination of things, but thanked the lower-order batsmen for hanging with him and playing cameos to take the Rockets over the line.
"It was a combination of a few things, really. I found a lot of fielders early in my innings, then I didn't have much of the strike, and then when I did, we'd lose a few wickets so I just couldn't really get settled at the crease,” Hales said of his start.
"They've got a high-class spin attack, and they are difficult to score against, so it was fairly ugly to start with. But [Matt Carter], Rashid [Khan] and Lewis [Gregory] also played some really important roles to rescue the team and take the scoreboard pressure off me. They were great cameos from those three, and it helped set up a scrappy, decent win."
The positives in The Hundred have thus far trumped the negatives, and Hales compared the intensity in the tournament to an international game.
"It's felt close to international cricket, and the buzz around this ground in the last few days has been unbelievable. It genuinely had that feel, almost of an international fixture, and the quality of cricket has been really good as well - the condensing down to eight teams has really lifted the standard. It's still early days in the tournament, but so far it's felt really competitive and really enjoyable,” Hales said of The Hundred.