It wasn’t quite the redemption innings he’d have hoped for but nonetheless the inclusion of maverick batter Alex Hales was fully justified by Sunday lunchtime gone as the returning Nottinghamshire player helped England to win the ICC T20 World Cup after three years of international exodus.
After bowling out Pakistan in the final for just 137, it was all set up for a mammoth innings by Hales, who instead fell for just one from his second ball, needing eventually, help, mostly from Ben Stokes with 52 not out, to steer England to victory.
Although not in the final, so much, Hales did play a huge part in England’s successful stay down under, averaging over 42 in a tournament where he scored 212 runs, just 13 behind England’s top competition run scorer Jos Buttler, the man who in captaining his country, also had a huge say in picking Hales to make his return.
In 2019 on the eve of the 50 over world cup, Hales was picked to play but thereafter made himself unavailable for the competition after failing a recreational drugs test, England eventually going on to win, past incidents have blighted the batsman’s star qualities but in recent times Hales now aged 33, has grown and matured as a player and a person, and was one idolised in world cricket as one of the best and biggest hitting stars in the world, going into the tournament in Australia.
In the semi-final his superb innings against India was one of the highlights in arguably England’s greatest ever white ball performance, alongside his skipper who scored 80 not out, Hales chased down the India tally of 168 to demolish the bowling attack, hitting 86 not out, scoring from 49 balls with nine fours and three sixes, England winning in Adelaide without losing a wicket, with four overs to spare.
Hales in the game previous had scored 47 against Sri Lanka, a must win match that saw England qualify for the semi-finals with just two balls remaining, prior to that his 52 against New Zealand helped England to a thumping win against a much-fancied team to win the competition, after England had stumbled to one win from their opening three matches in the group stages.
Hales performances were amongst many impressing for England in a tournament of fantastic highs, standing out as the player to kick start the run chase or set a huge total, he scored more sixes, ten, than any other England player, and proved on the elite stage, when called upon, when his head is on the job, that he can be a very reliable player as good as anybody in the world, a champion on the global stage, and living proof that if you work hard enough when things perhaps aren’t going your way, you can still prosper and profit from your own positive actions.
*Main image @jarrodwalsh Alex Hales celebrates becoming a world cup winner.