With Jason Roy losing form and Jonny Bairstow freakishly injured, Alex Hales was given an unexpected chance to redeem himself in a seven-match T20 series in Pakistan; the 33-year-old helped himself to 53 from 40 balls during England’s inaugural victory in Karachi; “It was a very special feeling”
Alex Hales admitted his return to England colors felt more like a debut than a comeback, as his half-century helped secure victory on a historic T20 occasion in Karachi.
Hales may have been waiting a long time to wear the Three Lions again, but his three-and-a-half-year absence only scratches the surface of the 17 years since England last took to the field in Pakistan.
With his unexpected chance at redemption in this seven-match T20 series, and the World Cup following next month in Australia, the 33-year-old helped himself to 53 in 40 balls to guide his team to success. of six fields.
“It was a very special feeling to be back in the park for England,” he said. “Three years felt like an eternity. To go out there and score 50 on my return on a winning team is what dreams are made of.”
“It’s a nice feeling. The boys have said in the past it was never due to cricket, missing all three years, that was never in doubt. But there was always nerves and pressure after three years not playing. It felt like debuting again. So it was a very special night.
“It feels like a dream come true to contribute half a century to a winning team in a country where I have so many good and special memories, it feels fantastic.”
Hales denied that the raw emotion of donning an England shirt had inspired his performance in midfield, insisting that the skill of the home attack kept him trained in the job at hand.
But he admitted an extra layer of importance given his previous experiences playing in the Pakistan Super League, one of the franchise competitions that have helped build the case for his dismissal in recent years.
“You can’t (let emotions in), you have to focus on winning a game of cricket against a very skilful bowling attack. You have guys bowling at 150kph, so for me, it was about crossing the line, ” he said.
“But scoring 50 and leading us in the right direction meant a lot. This is a place where I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years, it’s a place that means a lot to me.”
“I’ve played in front of packed houses here in Karachi and it’s something different. It’s one of the best environments in world cricket.
“Luke Wood was standing in the middle of the wicket at the start of the game and said he couldn’t believe the noise and the atmosphere. Karachi put on a show tonight.”
Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and Chris Jordan have yet to make it to England’s T20 squad ahead of the World Cup, leaving white-ball selectors with a serious headache.
speaking to sky sportsNasser Hussain said: “I’ve never been worried about the pre-Australia struggle with the releases and the experience of having Hales. It would have been a problem if we didn’t have Hales. I would say, because you have Jason Roy out of Nick and Jonny Bairstow injured. , so you’re looking at the top of the order. Who will start with Buttler?
“I love that Hales is back. It’s the perfect fit at the right time, right before a World Cup.
“Rob Key wants his eleven and then he wants to get them in shape, trying to get [Luke] wood and [Chris] Woakes fit for Australia. That’s still a bit of fingers crossed.
“There was always going to be a drop in performance once [Eoin] Morgan retired, but hopefully now, if you’re an England fan, they’ll pick up their performances and start to work.”
With Wood taking three from 24, exploiting Mohammad Nawaz’s stump to open his account in style and then adding two more on a controlled spell on the death and Harry Brook finishing the job with a fluid 42 not out, Hussain was impressed with the way in which England got the job done in front of a crowd of 35,000 at the National Stadium in Karachi.
“It was really clinical and considering the players that they didn’t have available, or that were injured, or that were still trying to get back into their bowling department, it was a very good performance,” he admitted.
“I also like the way batting players are in the position they would bat in domestic cricket, so someone like Brook comes in the middle order for Yorkshire. He comes in the middle order for England.”
“[Ben] Duckett has done that role for a couple of counties. So England are doing the right thing, putting the right players in the right positions.
“Before a World Cup when everyone is available, when Ben Stokes is available, when Jos Buttler comes back, then you will find the puzzle is a bit more difficult, but at this point someone like Brook has come in and taken his opportunity wonderfully.”
Watch England’s tour of Pakistan live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the second international T20 starts at 3pm on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event this Thursday 22nd September.