Hales Proves His Worth? The 2nd ODI

Please excuse the brevity of this post. I’ve been bed ridden with flu for the last 48 hours and it’s safe to say that my brain hurts. Not to mention my throat, head, back, and just about every muscle in my body. I feel like I’ve gone 12 hard rounds against Joel Garner.

Fortunately I was still able to watch most of yesterday’s ODI from under the duvet. I’m probably contagious – which was enough to keep the kids away. Silver linings etc.

What did you make of the game? My feelings are best summarised by something I tweeted at the end of the match. No matter how many runs our opponents get, I now expect England to chase them down successfully. That’s the complete opposite of a year ago. During the World Cup I expected England to make a pig’s ear of chasing less than a hundred. How times have changed.

From the moment Chris Jordan caught AB de Villiers – an stunning effort as he caught it over his shoulder running backwards – I was confident we’d win. We seem to have a bit of swagger these days. Self-confidence is so important.

The big story from the game was the performance of Alex Hales. Depending on who you read or listen to, Hales has now silenced all the doubters. His innings was apparently a masterpiece – showing good technique early on and then picking off the singles maturely mid-innings. I’ve even heard some people argue that his knock proves beyond doubt that he’s the best man to open in tests for the foreseeable future.

It’s hard not to raise an eyebrow at such assessments. I was cheering Hales all the way – there’s nothing better than seeing a young man stick it to his critics – but his innings wasn’t the most fluent. He played a number of loose shots that would’ve proved his undoing on another day (I can think of a least three unsightly hacks when the ball looped up in the air only to drop fortuitously between two fielders). My heart was in my mouth for much of his innings – although he did settle down a bit once he’d reached fifty.

What impressed me though was his determination to make a score. He hung in there on a slightly difficult pitch – although Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali proved towards the end that the surface wasn’t actually too bad  – and he assessed the match situation well. He’s finally doing enough to justify his place in the ODI side (he averaged a paltry 26 in 25 games before yesterday) and I believe that’s enough for now. Talk of one gutsy but somewhat streaky innings cementing his place in the test side seems way over the top.

What cannot be underestimated though is the effect Hales’ innings will have on his confidence. Maybe he’ll find a new lease of life now? We’re all looking forward to seeing the buccaneering stroke-maker that plays for Notts strut his stuff on the international stage. Maybe this innings will be the catalyst? As I said earlier, confidence counts for so much.

James Morgan



  • Sorry to find you ill James, Hope you feel better soon.

    I have just written a fairly lengthy reply which disappeared between ‘done’ and ‘post comment’!

    Too fed up to do it again right now! In short I think our best plan would be to give Hales another run against Sri Lanka and see how he goes. We are back to TINA again as I don’t fancy Cook and Compo as 1&2 which would also leave a gap at 3.

    Interested to see any other thoughts.

    Great to see the ODI team doing so well!

  • Hales is just not a test opener, and I suspect never will be. However he could well become a permanent fixture in an all-conquering England one day side.

    I might be a tad over optimistic, but I can see this team becoming very difficult to beat.

    Buttler’s performance (including the dropped catch) has convinced me the selectors have made the right calls over which wicket keeper belongs in which team – and as a bonus, either are good enough to step into the other’s boots should an injury occur.

  • Yes, I’d give Hales time and hope he makes it. After all, it’s not unknown for an England opener go for a few games without impressing much – up to 2 years in one notable case!

    I saw Hales make a huge score in a county match at Hove and Magoffin is no dummy with the ball.

  • I just don’t see Hales as a Test opener. I agree he’s finding his feet in ODI cricket now, but in Tests he’d torn between playing his natural game and playing like he thinks Test players should. The same could be said for Buttler, who is back to his best now he’s been unburdened by being dropped from the Test team.

    I would tell them both to forget about Tests for now and concentrate on being the best ODI and T20 players they can. Buttler can only improve from playing in the IPL and Hales should look to get some experience in overseas T20 leagues too.

  • Would be interested to know from the experts among you why Warner was originally thought to be ‘not a Test player’. Did he have technical weaknesses as is constantly being said about Hales? was it a matter of temperament, the kind of player he was? Whatever, he managed to make the transition very successfully. Not sure it is right to completely write off Hales as a Test player yet.

    • Except that Warner pretty well proved himself from the off, once selected.
      Admittedly Hales has only a few tests under his belt, but thus far all he has shown is that he’s happier in the one-day format.

      Of course, I’d be quite happy for him to prove me wrong and score a boatload of runs this summer.

      • Thanks Nigel, didn’t remember what Warner did when they did select him. I too hope Hales comes good in the summer.

    • Warner had technical weaknesses but he ironed them out pretty quickly to be fair to the boorish lad. Hales has had the same issues for at least 3 years and hasn’t improved one bit.

      Warner isn’t some world class batsmen. Now, in saying that it depends if you are viewing him against past players or realising that the modern game is totally different and in no way relatable to past. If I go on that train of thought, Warner is one of the best.

      Today’s game (all formats) are completely alien to the game 5+ years ago becUse of so many reasons

      Bowling is poorer
      Wickets are flatter
      Wickets are regularly flatter
      Bats are better
      Smaller playing areas
      Protection removing the ‘fear’ from batsmen so making bowlers less effective

      The list goes on

      Anyway, hales is a modern player. I don’t like it but he’s good for me modern game. Warner is better in the modern game, both however are found out on sporting wickets more often than not. Same with ab, smith, root etc, it’s not just them who are white ball players .

      It’s a totally different game to the test areana even 5 years ago. Just look at the 3rd ODI, what a boring game.. Zero in it for he bowlers.. Might as well just have a bowling machine and play who hits the most but then, this large scoring is apparently more enjoyable

      • You keep on making these claims and never back them up with any evidence. Where’s the proof?

        You keep saying batting is easier. I’ll keep saying Ferriday&Wilson’s study of batting showed that the runs/wickets ratio has been remarkably stable since WW1. You think they’re wrong? Why?

        Let’s say that Australian home test wickets have been particularly flat in the last two seasons. Let’s say that’s worth a five run premium on a batsman’s average (it isn’t – but for the sake of argument). That would still leave Warner with a Test average of 45 which would put him above Greenidge, Haynes, Strauss, Trescothick and many others.

        To take just one of your arguments – on lack of quality bowlers, by any standard a line-up of Steyn/Philander/Morkel is a class attack. Warner averaged 90 with three centuries and an SR of 87 last time he played them (away in 2014).

        To argue he isn’t a world class batsman is simply preposterous.


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