England captain Alastair Cook has confirmed that Twenty20 superstar Alex Hales will open the batting with him during the upcoming ODI series against India.
Hales, who is the only England batsman to have scored a Twenty20 International century, has been in blistering form as of late, scoring centuries with relative ease. Hales’ red-hot form started earlier this month when he smashed a century for the England Lions in their List A match against Sri Lanka A.
His outstanding form continued in the County season as he scored a sensational 141 for Nottinghamshire against Middlesex in a Royal London One-Day Cup match at Lord’s. He followed that up with an unbeaten 102 against Northamptonshire in a County Championship match and a superb 104 against Warwickshire in another Royal London One-Day Cup match.
Due to his incredible form with the bat, Hales was rewarded with his maiden call-up to England’s ODI squad and is set to make his ODI debut today.
In fact, Cook, who used to open with Ian Bell, admitted that he was looking forward to opening the batting with the 25-year-old phenomenon.
“Alex Hales will open the batting with me,” Cook said. “What has been pleasing about Alex, over the last month or so I think he has scored four hundreds for Nottinghamshire, at a good rate as well.
“He is a different batter to the other guys. He hits the ball incredibly hard and he hits it in slightly different areas. He has an unorthodox technique which seems to work really well for him. He’s done really well in T20 cricket and now he’s got the chance, in these five games, to show what he can do [in] 50 overs.”
Hales is renowned for his aggressive mindset and approach when opening the batting for England in Twenty20 Internationals. However, Cook believes that Hales’ batting style will not have an impact on or influence his own batting approach.
In fact, the combination of Hales and Cook opening the batting should work extremely well since Hales can be the aggressor from the get-go, while Cook will look to keep rotating the strike and take advantage of any loose deliveries.
“I don’t think it changes my role,” Cook said. “The job of the top four or five is to try and score a hundred, to try and set up the game. You have to do it in your way.”