ODI return unlikely for Alex Hales despite glorious T20 comeback with England

Opener says he is focused on shortest format, including playing for Desert Vipers in first ILT20

Alex hales says his focus is on T20 franchise cricket rather than the 50-over format.
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Alex Hales says a return to the England side for their 50-over World Cup defence next year is unlikely.

The opener made a triumphant return to T20 international cricket this year after three-and-a-half years in the wilderness.

Having been given his chance because of injury to Jonny Bairstow, he was restored to the England side for the T20 World Cup.

He played a key role, most notably in the semi-final thrashing of India, as they won the title in Melbourne.

Hales had originally been stood down from international duty in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup after failing a second test for recreational drug use. England also went on to win that competition in his absence.

The next one-day international World Cup in due to take place in India next year.

Hales says his attention lies in T20 cricket, though, including at competitions such as the ILT20 in the UAE, where he will play for Desert Vipers.

“I think for the time being my focus lies purely on T20 cricket,” Hales said.

“It is a format where over the last three years, I have got better at a really quick rate. I think for the time being I am just going to focus on T20 cricket, and probably give [50-over cricket] some thought.

“I know there is a World Cup in India next summer, but for the moment my focus is on this tournament and the T20 franchise circuit. You have to see what the future holds, you just never know.”

After his outstanding innings against India in Adelaide earlier this month, Hales acknowledged playing in a World Cup was not something he thought he would get to do again.

Now he says he is still feeling the euphoria of England’s success.

“It is a special feeling, something I did not think I would get a chance to do again was playing the World Cup,” Hales said.

“I think I will be riding that wave for some time. It has definitely not sunk in yet. I hope I can carry that form into this tournament.”

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The Vipers are one of the six teams in the new T20 franchise league, which will launch its first season in Dubai in January.

Three of the sides – Dubai Capitals, Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and MI Emirates - already have the benefit of associations with existing teams in the IPL.

That is not the same for the Vipers. However, their owners are not short of pedigree in sports administration, with Manchester United – for now, at least – also part of their portfolio.

Hales is confident the Vipers can make a success of their debut campaign in the competition.

“I think we can definitely win it,” Hales said. “It is a really strong squad, one of the best I have seen on the squad lists so far.

“If we can get enough guys on the squad in form, we should win.”

Updated: November 30, 2022, 7:49 AM