Alex Hales makes use of the door handle

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They always talk about players ‘knocking on the door’ when it comes to England selection. Then, when a player makes a really compelling case, they say he pretty much knocked the door down. Alex Hales seems inclined to take an even more straightforward route into the team. He’s just going to push down the handle, quietly open the door, walk in and sit down.

Yorkshire are a few players down, but their bowling attack is still strong enough to have secured a 10-wicket win last week, dismissing Worcestershire for an even hundred in the second innings. As such, Alex Hales’ 222 off 250 balls is what you might, with a degree of understatement, call a tidy effort.

At 393-7, it’ll also be interesting to see how the rest of this match pans out – partly because Hales is still in, but also to see what kind of a pitch it is. This has all the hallmarks of being one of those innings people mistakenly refer to in years to come as being pivotal in a player’s career.

The truth is, Hales has only been reduced to the rudeness of an uninvited door open after a couple of years of tap-tappery. This innings is the act of a frustrated man who is leaving nothing to chance.

Last year, we already knew that Hales could hit hundreds in T20 internationals. Perhaps concerned by this seemingly one-dimensional CV, he took steps to fill in the sizeable gaps. He made three hundreds in the 50-over competition and finished the tournament with an average of 76.80. He also made three Championship hundreds and averaged 50.21 (in the first division).

Since then, England have picked and unpicked him like poor stitching. He’s pissed off. He said as much in an interview last week.

So what can he do? Well, he can score a hundred against the county champions and then, once he’s done that, he can just carry on, scoring more and more runs with cold relentlessness. When you’ve already travelled across the threshold in both directions, you realise that doors are meant to be opened.


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  1. If only England were looking for a new opening batsman or two.

    On the subject of getting pissed off, I recall a similar article about James Taylor last year. Now he’s disappeared again. Maybe the trick is to stay angry.

    1. He’s not disappeared. He’s only just got into the one-day side really and not sure any of the middle-order Test dudes really warrant the boot. He’s close.

  2. I’m a big fan of Hales, like everyone who isn’t a selector.
    However, he’s smashing the Champions’ attack for a double hundred from number 3.
    We’ve already got two excellent number 3’s in the Test side. One of which we’ve shoehorned in to an unhappy openers slot. Maybe Hales will translate to opening better. He seems to do well for Notts in the 50 overs from there.

  3. Hales could end up being the English Sehwag/Warner, you think they are average limited overs biffers but it turns out the long format is where they truly shine.

  4. I’m not saying Alex Hales is the second coming, but no player sums up the English management more than him.

    If you are being kind, England are the 8th best ODI team in the world. Can you imagine any of the countries occupying the 7 places above them having a player of the calibre of Hales and letting him reach this stage of his career with 10 ODIs? Even India or Australia would have given him 40 games by now to see what he is made of – as soon as he made that 99 a couple of years ago he would have been straight into the squad.

    He may not be cut out for international cricket at any higher level than T20 biffer. But the fact that England havent even bothered trying to find out is a joke. Even the games he has played have been more of a “I suppose we have to give him a game to shut people up a bit”. They also seem to completely misunderstand him as a player by expecting him to take 40 off the first 5 overs, when by and large he sits in for a bit then cracks on. Sort of like Cook (92 ODIs) and Bell (161 ODIs) only with about 17 extra gears.

  5. I’d definitely have him in the ODI side, but then I’d keep Bell in there too until after the next WC. And Moeen. Not sure what order, but whatever I decided on I’d leave them there for the foreseeable.

    As with KP, I don’t see a vacancy in the England middle order. As far as opening goes, I’d rather see Lyth than Trott – I’d be happy to see Trott coming out at #3, but there is absolutely no reason to touch Ballance, Bell, Root.

    But then I guess the way England’s opening partnerships have gone since they got rid of Compton, #3 is basically opening anyway.

  6. A mere hundred for the other impressive boy, Lees, on the same deck.

    Have we had an “All Hales” pun yet? Long overdue if not.

  7. I don’t understand the “All Hales” pun. I didn’t understand Bert’s “joke” about Swann retiring, and there was something else on here recently that i didn’t understand but I seem to have blocked it from my memory.

    1. All hail thesaurusrus, a fine contributor to this site. And all hail Alex Hales, a fine batsman.

      The Swann retiring pun by Bert was on the following match report of mine:

      It contains a short parody of Proust’s “À la recherche du temps perdu” (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past). A central character is named Swann, indeed the first volume of the book is normally translated as “Swann’s Way”.

      A joke explained is a joke strained, but never mind.

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