Last Update on: August 6th, 2023 at 12:40 pm
Former England opener Alex Hales admitted that if he were a young player now, he would prioritize white-ball cricket and abandon any ambitions in Test cricket. Alex Hales lauded young batter Will Smeed’s decision to quit first-class cricket to build his career in white-ball cricket.
Alex Hales, who has played across all three formats for England, announced his retirement on Friday, August 4. The right-handed batter represented the nation in 11 Tests, 70 ODIs, and 75 T20Is in his 12-year career. He quit red-ball cricket in 2018, with his last match played in 2016.
I Would Do A Will Smeed – Alex Hales
Alex Hales believes that fewer players can excel in all three formats, stating that the game has evolved to value specialists in each format.
“Just with the way I play, and my instincts and my technique, I would’ve chucked my eggs into the T20 basket – for sure. I would do a Will Smeed – and fair play to him for doing that. It’s a bold decision. Hopefully, it works out for him,” hales said.
I think the way the game is now, you’re seeing fewer and fewer people who are exceptional at all three formats. There’s obviously a select handful who are brilliant at all three, but you see the way the game has gone – especially the last sort of five years – you see more and more specialists.“I’ve always found the technique and skillsets very different across the formats: bowlers looking to bowl slow and wide, yorkers, slower bouncers, and then you go back to a four-day game, looking to hit the top of off. It’s very difficult to make sure your skillset is at the top for all three formats,” he added.
Hales was dropped from the English squad before the 2019 ODI World Cup. He waited almost three years to get a call-up from the team and replaced the injured Jonny Bairstow during the 2022 T20 World Cup, helping England win the championship title.
More Suited To The Middle Order – Alex Hales
Hales expressed that opening the batting in England was challenging, stating that he might have been more successful if he had played in his natural way.
“I was definitely fighting a lot of my instincts opening the batting here in England. It’s a seriously tough place to open the batting. To see the way Zak [Crawley] and Ben [Duckett] have done it this summer has been unbelievable, to go out there and play their shots,” he added.
“Maybe, looking back, if I could have gone about it in my natural way, I may have had a bit more success. I actually think I may have been more suited to the middle order… I’ve always sort of been pushed up to open the batting, maybe against what would suit my natural games. Had I got a crack now, amongst the Bazball stuff? Who knows?”
The right-handed batter was an aggressive player in first-class cricket and scored at an impressive strike rate of 59.06. However, he struggled to maintain his natural game during his limited stint in England’s Test team, resulting in a lower strike rate of 43.84.