Alex Hales: England batter says winning return in Pakistan is ‘very special feeling’

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England opener Alex Hales plays a shotAlex Hales hit seven fours in his 40-ball innings

Alex Hales says hitting 53 on his return to the England side in their historic Twenty20 win over Pakistan is “the stuff dreams are made of”.

He was dropped from the World Cup squad in March 2019 after reportedly failing a recreational drugs test.

“There years felt like forever,” said opener Hales, 33.

“It’s a very special feeling to get back out on the park for England.

“To score a fifty on my return in a winning team is the stuff dreams are made of.”

Hales was called up for the seven-match Pakistan tour and the upcoming T20 World Cup after Jonny Bairstow suffered a possible broken left leg while playing golf.

Speaking in February 2020, then-England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan said “there was a breakdown in trust between Hales and the team” and “a considerable amount of time was needed to regain that trust”.

Hales said: “Guys have said in the past it was never down to the cricket why I missed three years, that was never in doubt.

“But there are always nerves and pressure after having not played for three years, it felt like a debut again, so a very special night.

“You can’t let emotions in, you have to focus on the task at hand. It was all about getting over the line. I wasn’t at my fluent best but steer us in the right direction meant a lot.”

Hales had previously been suspended and fined over his part in an altercation outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017, after which England team-mate Ben Stokes was charged with affray, but later cleared in court.

In November last year, Hales apologised for “all the offence” he had caused after a photo showing him wearing black make-up was published.

During his international exile, Hales has starred in domestic T20 leagues around the world, including in the Big Bash League in Australia, where this year’s World Cup will be held, and the Pakistan Super League.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Pakistan over the last few years and it means a lot to me,” he added.

“I’ve got some fantastic memories on and off the field so to be part of the first England tour here in such a long time is an incredibly special feeling.

“I’ve played in front of full houses here in Karachi and it’s something different. It’s one of the best atmospheres in world cricket. Karachi put on a show.

“The last three or four years I’ve purely been focusing on T20 cricket, which has really helped my game and I’ve gone to the next level. Hopefully I can do that for England going forward.”

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