Alex Hales: We are making fresh start for World T20
The 25-year-old has impressed Down Under over the past months in the Big Bash league with the Adelaide Strikers
Thursday 30 January 2014
Opener Alex Hales has insisted England's wretched tour of Australia will not undermine preparations for the World Twenty20.
England's next major target is reclaiming the World Twenty20 title, which they won in 2010. This year's event starts in Bangladesh on 16 March. There are fears the pummelling sustained Down Under over the past three months could filter down to the T20 team, after they were unable to beat a weakened Australia in the series opener in Hobart on Wednesday.
A 13-run loss was made to appear closer by Ravi Bopara's late explosion of six-hitting – he cleared the rope seven times in a 27-ball 65 – but still England fell short again.
Hales, though, is unconcerned by all that has gone on before on tour and he feels his T20 peers think the same. Most have not been subjected to the run of losses in Australia, with Hales one of five players who appeared for the first time in Hobart.
The 25-year-old has, unlike most Englishmen, enjoyed his time Down Under over the past months after impressing in the Big Bash T20 league with the Adelaide Strikers.
Asked if the pressure to win, and avoid leaving Australia empty-handed, was being felt in the squad, he said: "I don't think so, not in this squad. We've only been together a few days and the last time we came across Australia we beat them at home. The confidence in this group is very high."
Ensuring confidence and form remain high is set to be crucial ahead of the World Twenty20. There is little room to hide out-of-form players in the shortest format and, after leaving Australia, England face a limited-overs series against the World Twenty20 champions West Indies, who won in 2012.
England then fly to Bangladesh, by which time Hales thinks two difficult tours will have them primed for the tournament. "A lot of Twenty20 is based around momentum," he said. "In Barbados we are playing against the Twenty20 World Cup holders. We have a lot of tough cricket coming up, which should stand us in good stead."
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