Hillingdon’s Alex Hales has experienced many troughs and peaks in his nascent Test career but according to his Nottinghamshire teammate Samit Patel, the England opener is proving he is right at home.
There was conjecture before the Sri Lanka tour that Hales’ place was already in the spotlight after mustering just one half-century from four Tests against South Africa in the winter.
And though he has not quite filled his boots against Sri Lanka – successive scores of 86 and 83 going down as squandered chances for centuries – his England red-ball career is certainly looking rosier now.
It was doubly important after finishing up with a top-score of just 28 at the t20 World Cup, despite England surprising most of the cricket fraternity by reaching the final.
But Notts all-rounder Patel says pressure is exactly what Hales thrives off.
“It always takes time to adjust to a different arena but I think Alex is made for the bigger stage,” said Patel.
“You can see the way he thrives off the crowd, on the big stage and in the big games.
“People are not always born with that and I think he relishes the challenge of playing in front of a big crowd and being the man to hit sixes and fours for England and Notts.
“He’s just faced some of the best bowling attacks in the world, I am sure he’s full of confidence and he looks in great touch.
“We all know what Alex can do, I don’t think he knows what he can do sometimes, the way he’s started off this year and you see Alex train in the nets, he’s really switched on, I’m happy with how he’s going.”
Patel has designs on joining Notts teammate Hales back on the international stage with England and he is targeting the Royal London One-Day Cup as a competition in which to prove his worth.
Patel has not been included in England’s one-day side since 2013 but retains ambitions to play for his country in next year’s ICC Champions Trophy tournament and the 2019 World Cup, both to be held in England.
With the likely absence of Hales to England and James Taylor’s sudden retirement, the 31-year-old will need to wield his influence as a senior figure – starting with the first fixture against Northamptonshire Steelbacks on June 6.
“(A recall) would be massive; it’s exactly what I want to do,” said Patel.
“We know we have the Champions Trophy next year and then the 2019 World Cup and that’s what I want to try and aim for, to get into one of those squads.
“I am just trying to score as many runs as I can and take as many wickets as I can and hopefully that will take me to where I want to be.
“If you have a good Royal London One-Day Cup it can put your name in the hat because you know if you are a consistent performer you can be selected.”
As proud sponsors of the One Day Cup, Royal London is giving away match tickets to see the action live. Visit royallondoncricket.com to enter.